• UFC 144

Almost impossible for Akiyama to submit me - Shields

ESPN staff
February 21, 2012
Jake Shields v Yoshihiro Akiyama

Jake Shields is willing to put his reputation on the line at UFC 144 this weekend, predicting Yoshihiro Akiyama is unlikely to have the necessary talent to submit him.

Shields is desperate to rebuild his career after a long winning streak was ended by welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. He then subsequently lost via knockout to Jake Ellenberger to truly fall down the 170lb pecking order.

However, at his best Shields possesses one of the best ground games in the business, and he is ready to remind people of his quality in Japan. There he faces Akiyama, a former middleweight debuting at welter, who boasts world class judo in addition to excellent striking.

"I'd love to disappoint the Japanese crowd, I plan to go out there and stop Akiyama," Shields said. "I feel the best I've ever felt right now. I feel stronger and faster, and as long as I can keep this going up until the fight, I'm ready to destroy.

"I want to start with Akiyama and get back on track. He's a good boxer, a good power-puncher and has world class judo. He's got good submissions too but he seems to be more of a knockout guy.

"It would be stupid to say I can't be submitted by him, but I'm unlikely to be submitted by him. Ideally I'll take him down into my world and submit him. He's a really hard guy to take down and he's got good boxing so I'm working lots of stand-up for this fight."

Asked about his future, with a title shot seemingly a distant dream after two straight losses, Shields remained bullish.

"In 2012 I want to be top contender again. I want a couple of big wins and have a title shot. I want everybody talking about how they want me to fight for the title in 2013."

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