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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Jake Shields Praises Georges St. Pierre for Latest Defense

By Kelsey Mowatt
While Georges St. Pierre will likely once again face a chorus of critics for failing to finish an opponent for the fourth time in a row, the fighter who had few answers for the welterweight champion’s technical and methodical approach won’t be one of them. Speaking after his unanimous decision loss to St. Pierre last night in Toronto, Ontario, Jake Shields was quick to praise the abilities of the man who became the first fighter since 2004, to hand him a loss.
“Obviously I’m not happy. I went in there and came up short,” Shields said at the post UFC 129 press conference. “Georges has great-stand up and kept me away. I couldn’t get him down; he did a great job of stuffing my shots, so I guess I got to go back, work on my boxing, and get better. Hopefully before I retire I’ll get another shot.”
Of course heading into their highly anticipated bout, there seemed to be near universal agreement throughout the MMA world that Shields would have to take St. Pierre to the ground, if the renowned grappler were to have any significant chance of dethroning the champ. As St. Pierre has demonstrated time-and-time again against notable wrestlers like Josh Koscheck, Matt Hughes or Jon Fitch, however, taking the 22-2 fighter down is no easy task.
“I wanted to take him down; I don’t know,” said Shields (26-5-1), while discussing the fact that after failing to take St. Pierre down in the earlier rounds, his takedown attempts became less frequent. “He stuffed my first couple of shots; I don’t know why I started boxing, I should have started shooting. It’s easier to look back now and say ‘man, I really screwed that up,’ but Georges is a great fighter. He fought great; he’s so evasive I couldn’t get on him. He did a great game-plan.”
In a rather interesting twist, however, while Shields was on hand at the press conference to praise the striking and grappling abilities of St. Pierre, the defending champion was unable to attend on account of a trip to the hospital. While St. Pierre scored more often on the feet, consistently landing a stiff jab and the occasional right, Shields landed enough strikes in return to apparently injure the champion’s left eye.
“At some points; he’s he was getting the better of me at some points I was getting the better of him,” said Shields, who looked much more comfortable on his feet than in previous outings. “Later on I started to feel like I was getting better but obviously I still have a ways to go. I’m going to go back, and really, really start focusing on my boxing, because I use that to get people down and Georges was able to stop my takedowns. I’ve worked on it some but I’m really going to focus on it now. Hopefully my next fight I’ll look completely different.”
Yes, it will be interesting to see who the UFC matches Shields up with next, a world class fighter, who evidently has no problem handing out credit, where credit is due.
posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 1:40 pm
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