New Orleans is known for Mardi Gras and the Saints, but this weekend they’ll be welcoming the octagon to town with a main event that’s more like a fat guy flashing his man boobs for beads rather than a hot chick who spent $2,000 on her fake boobs lifting up her shirt as men throw multi-colored pieces of plastics on a string at her. Not only that, but the main event, at least on paper, could be a very defensive fight, and Saints fans just aren’t used to defense.
Also, if you missed it, here’s my look at the “Battle on the Bayou” undercard. Now for the main event…
Welterweight Fight: Jake Ellenberger vs. Jake Shields
The Wrestling Battle: Both Jake Ellenberger and Jake Shields are good wrestlers. Ellenberger was a NCAA Division II champion and relies a lot on his power wrestling, while Shields was a NCAA Division II wrestler, has been doing submission wrestling his whole life, and has a very good single leg takedown. Both guys can be taken down, but I favor the wrestling of Shields.
Ellenberger’s Power vs. Shields’ Kicks: Ellenberger isn’t a great technical fighter, but he has a very heavy right hand. Shields’ is a better striker than given credit for but has no power in his hands. The interesting part of this fight though is that Ellenberger’s best punch is his counter right when his opponent throws a kick, and Shields’ best strike are his body kicks. Shields was caught with an overhand right against Dan Henderson and Georges St. Pierre, so I would hope he’s corrected his defense, but if not, Ellenberger could put him down.
Shields’ Mindset: In unfortunate news, Jake’s dad, Jack Shields, passed away a few weeks ago. Jake decided not to pull out of the fight, because his dad would have wanted him to fight, but it would still affect Shields. I think he’s a mentally strong fighter, but there had to be a couple of days when his dad first passed that Jake just didn’t give 100% in training, and that could be the difference between winning and lose.
Grappling: Shields definitely has the grappling advantage in this fight. Even though he’s not all that great off his back, his top game is one of the best in MMA. He has good guard passes and his mount control is second to none. Ellenberger is not great off his back and his top control isn’t shakey as well. He was swept constantly by Carlos Condit and didn’t fair too well on the ground again Carlos Eduardo Rocha. If Shields can get Ellenberger on his back, he’s going to win this fight.
Fight Prediction: This has the potential to be a really dull fight. Shields isn’t really known for having exciting fights and Ellenberger isn’t a guy who will really push the fight. If Ellenberger doesn’t buy into the hype of Shields’ jiu-jitsu (specifically his bottom game), then he can win but I think Shields will have enough control throughout the fight to pick up a decision.
Official Prediction: Jake Shields to defeat Jake Ellenberger by Decision