• UFC 171 Preview: Jake Shields vs. Hector Lombard

  • UFC 171 poster 208x300 UFC 171 Preview: Jake Shields vs. Hector LombardThis Saturday, as part of the UFC 171 main card, Jake Shields will take on Hector Lombard in a welterweight matchup. Lombard is yet to begin a winning streak within the UFC, will he be able to do it against BJJ ace and former Strikeforce welterweight champ Jake Shields?

    It’s an interesting one when you look at each fighters position within the UFC at present. Lombard, who had a lot of hype surrounding him when he first joined the UFC, is yet to find consistency in his results and begin a true campaign for a title shot. Meanwhile, Jake Shields has shown good form in his last couple of fights and has delivered solid performances against some very tough opponents.

    With a big win over Shields we could see Hector Lombard catapulted into a fight with one of the divisions top 5 ranked fighters. A matchup like this could trigger a title shot, or at least a fight to become the no.1 contender. However, Jake Shields is already at that stage, so with a stand-out performance we could see his name thrown into the mix for a title shot against the winner of Hendricks vs. Lawler. Although I think that would be dependent on the outcome of the Condit vs. Woodley bout. Either way, it’s a huge fight for both guys and could definitely shake things up at the top end of the 170 lb division.

    BJJ blackbelt Jake Shields, has really managed to turn things around for himself since 2011, where we saw him drop back-to-back losses against Georges St-Pierre and Jake Ellenberger. In my opinion the loss against Ellenberger was partly attributed to the sad death of Jake’s father Jack Shields, who played an important role in his sons MMA career. After a couple months away from the sport, Shields made a successful return against Yoshihiro Akiyama, defeating the Japanese native via unanimous decision at UFC 144 in February 2012.

    Jake’s next assignment was Ed Herman, who he defeated via unanimous decision at UFC 150 in August 2012. However, it was later announced that Shields had failed his drug test and he was subsequently fined and suspended with the result of the fight overturned to a “No Contest”. The 35-year-old didn’t let this phase him and returned in June 2013 for UFC 161, where he secured a split decision win over Tyron Woodley. Finally, in his most recent outing, Shields earned a decision win over fellow BJJ specialist Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 29, showing just how dangerous he can be on the ground even against a high-level Jiu Jitsu practitioner.

    I don’t think we will see Hector Lombard trying to test Shields’ ground game, in fact following his recent first round knockout victory over Nate Marquardt I suspect Lombard would much prefer to secure another early stoppage and call it a night in under two minutes. The win over Marquardt at UFC 166 was definitely an easy nights work for Lombard, who looked amazing at 170 lbs, and it showed that he made the right decision dropping down from middleweight where he struggled to deal with taller opposition.

    A dominant victory over an opponent like Shields would confirm that Lombard is a force to be reckoned with in the welterweight division. “Lightning” clearly holds the advantage with regards to punching power, but I think Shields will look to make the fight a lot more technical and if possible he’ll want to take it to the ground. This is where I feel he holds the advantage and this is what Hector will be looking to avoid.

    Rousimar Palhares and Nate Marquardt know what it’s like to suffer a first round knockout loss at the hands of Lombard, will Jake Shields be the next name added to that list. I certainly can’t wait to find out and I’ll also be keeping a close eye on the Condit vs. Woodley bout. It’s an important night for the welterweight division, a night of fights not to be missed.

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    Jay Cee – @JayCeeMMA

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