In one of the only interesting story lines remaining in a card which has been riddled with injuries, Jake Shields is likely fighting for his UFC career at UFC 161.
Since entering the UFC in 2010, Shields has been a huge disappointment. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion entered MMA‘s biggest promotion riding a 14-fight winning streak and had just dominated UFC-veteran Dan Henderson in a five-round fight.
After being given a quick title shot against UFC welterweight champion George St. Pierre, Shields’ career began an unexpected free-fall.
Shields followed an ugly loss to St. Pierre with an even uglier loss to Jake Ellenberger, in a fight which Shields was knocked out in less than a minute by an Ellenberger punch. Shields Followed that loss with a controversial win over Yoshihiro Akiyama and then grinded out an extremely boring win over Ed Herman. After the Herman fight, however, Shield’s victory was turned into a no-contest after a failed drug test.
Now, at UFC 161, Shields finds himself fighting for his UFC career against Tyon Woodley.
In contrast to Shields, Woodley has found early success in the UFC. In February, Woodley entered the Octagon for the first time and quickly finished Jay Hieron by way of a devastating knockout punch. Woodley’s dynamic debut lasted only 36 seconds.
Shields, whose chin appeared suspect in the Ellenberger knockout, must find a way to cope with Woodley’s power. Shields must use his superior grappling to grind out a win against the powerful welterweight.
If Shields fails and gets knocked out again, he will find himself without a job by the time his medical suspension expires.