Jake Shields isn’t being given much of a shot to take Georges St. Pierre’s welterweight title by the majority of the MMA community, though everyone can agree that the Cesar Gracie-trained fighter poses a unique threat to the champ that his recent challengers have not: a virtually unmatched submission grappling acumen.
St. Pierre is certainly no slouch on the ground and has, in fact, used a stifling grappling attack to shut down many of his recent opponents. Shields’ trainer, Cesar Gracie, recently appeared on Sherdog.com’s Savage Dog Show and discussed why St. Pierre will be unable to employ that strategy against Shields and will likely lose the bout should it turn into a grappling match.
“I’ve had some pretty good guys try to hold Jake down. It’s not going to happen,” said Gracie. “You can’t hold Jake down. You can’t just be on top of him and hold him.”
Gracie believes that Shields’ skill set is the perfect to defeat St. Pierre and that there is no amount of training that “Rush” could have done to adequately prepare for what Shields brings to the table.
“Superior grappling, I believe, is the way to win it,” he said. “… I can see Jake putting a lot of pressure on this guy. You can train for Jake, but there’s really no one out there like him is the problem. It’s hard to get a guy that mimics [him]. You really don’t understand the feel of it until you train with him.”
Barring any interfering factors, Gracie unsurprisingly indicated that he sees Shields going home with the belt when all is said and done.
“If the Jake that I know at the gym shows up at his best, I think he’ll definitely win this fight,” Gracie said. “But I also understand there’s a lot of factors. I know GSP is a great fighter. I’m really interested to see what’s going to happen. I just know that Jake has the tools to also win this fight. I think he can get it done.”
Shields and St. Pierre will headline UFC 129 this weekend at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; don’t forget to check back on FightLine.com that night for our live, ongoing coverage of the event.