Jake Shields is facing arguably his hardest test to date in his fighting career, going up against one of the best grappler in the world, Demian Maia. Maia has been able to run through his opponents as of late in the welterweight division, which is a testament to the type of word class jiu jitsu skills that Maia has.
On paper, it looks like Maia would have the edge, as he can submit any fighter that goes to the ground with him. This was clearly evident in his bouts with Chael Sonnen and Rick Story. However, first, he has to get the fight to the mat, something that isn’t a walk in the park against a fighter who is competent on the ground, such as Shields. Maia has been stifled before in terms of his grappling, and Shields may take that blueprint and use it in his own game plan.
Shields has been able to negate a lot of good wrestlers from getting him to the ground, such as Georges St. Pierre, Tyron Woodley and even Dan Henderson, who competes in the light heavyweight division. If Shields can keep this fight standing, then he has a great shot at winning the exchanges on the feet.
He isn’t the most powerful puncher, and certainly isn’t a dynamic striker, such as Stephen Thompson, but he can land good kicks and has a decent jab. These tools may be enough to help him earn a decision, which would be a huge feather in his cap. A huge question regarding this fight is how Shields will handle himself on the ground. Shields brands his grappling American jiu jitsu, and it will be interesting to see if he can negate Maia and even take him down to get the victory.