Sakurai’s heyday has come and gone but there was a solid chunk of time where “Mach” stood as one of the best welterweights in the sport. The less-seasoned Shields was able to out-grapple him when the two faced off in Japan, picking up a much-needed win after having lost a decision in his previous pairing. Sakurai represents the first “big name” opponent to come up short against Shields’ skill-set though obviously not the last.
In less than a week UFC welterweight Jake Shields will head into hostile territory in hopes of taking out fellow submission-specialist Demian Maia at UFC Fight Night 29. Though Maia is a gifted grappler and the Brazilian crowd will be heavily biased in his favor, fans shouldn’t expect Shields to be fazed in the least bit based on the number of marquee match-ups he’s encountered in his career. And, as his record shows, the former Strikeforce champion tends to come out on top more often than not regardless of the situation. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images)
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