Georges St. Pierre (left) and Jake Shields will toe the line at UFC 129. | Stephen Fernandez/Splash News
Welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre will defend his crown against top contender Jake Shields before some 55,000 fans in the UFC 129 headliner on Saturday at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
St. Pierre has been on a tear since he regained the 170-pound title from Matt Serra, winning eight consecutive fights. During his streak, he has toppled Serra, hall of famer Matt Hughes, Jon Fitch, B.J. Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy and Josh Koscheck (twice).
Enter Jake Shields. The San Francisco-based welterweight will enter the cage on a 15-fight winning streak. In fact, he has not lost in more than six years. Can Shields end St. Pierre’s reign?
Sherdog.com recently caught up with dozens of professional trainers and fighters to gauge their opinions on the Shields-St. Pierre main event:
Duke Roufus: Shields comes from the tough Cesar Gracie team, but I have to go with GSP by the new Roufusport-inspired off-the-cage technique for his 55,000 Canadian fans, called “The Flying Maple Leaf.”
Brendan Schaub: GSP by however he wants to. He’ll probably put on a boxing clinic and get a TKO in the fourth round. He’s such an extraordinary athlete that he can and will dictate the fight.
Greg Nelson: Another great fight. On the feet, it is GSP. Shields seems to have some issues with his striking, standing and on the ground. Takedowns and takedown defense once again goes to GSP, who has become the best takedown guy in the business. On the ground, we have a real battle. Shields is one of the best ground control fighters now fighting. He has gotten all of his fights to the ground, and, there, he has won all of his fights. GSP can keep it on the feet, be the guy attacking [with] the takedown and staying on top. He will win. I give the W to GSP.
Mike Whitehead: GSP by TKO in the third.
Cesar Gracie: Jake by a decapitating guillotine.
Stefan Struve: I think GSP will have another dominant performance. I don’t see Shields giving him too much trouble on the feet, and I don’t think he will KO him with one big shot, either. He might be dangerous on the ground with submissions, but I don’t think he’ll be able to take GSP down. I don’t think GSP will take any risk in his guard, so, in my opinion, GSP by decision or TKO in the later rounds.
Ricardo Liborio: If GSP doesn’t get taken down and submitted, I pick GSP winning by decision.
Jaime Fletcher: Shields has dangerous wrestling, and his submission skills reflect the true meaning of a black belt. However, I don’t think Shields’ standup is enough to set up his takedowns where he can have an advantage on the ground. I’m not sure Shields can keep it there, either. I see a pretty similar outcome to this fight as GSP and Koscheck but with more violence between these two. I think GSP will win by decision once again. Maybe I’ll have some pizza, popcorn and Diet Mountain Dew with Coach [Erik] Paulson while I watch.
Gilbert Melendez: Shields by submission.
Nate Marquardt: GSP will win all five rounds. Jake may be tough to finish, but Georges will dominate. I train with Georges on a daily basis and can’t see him losing this.
Travis Lutter: GSP is going to be hard to beat in this one. Shields has better BJJ, but he is going to be on his back, so my money is on GSP.
Robin Black: This fight will be primarily on the feet, and Georges will make Shields’ face look like poutine -- a French-Canadian delicacy that looks disgusting but is actually delicious -- before finishing him in round three or four.
Jeff Monson: GSP by decision.
Nam Phan: First, I just want to say that GSP is the man, but I gotta root for the underdog. Let’s get ’em, Jake.
Matt Pena: I particularly am not excited at all for this fight. I see GSP picking Jake apart with a bunch of safe striking. I believe he will have opportunities to open it up and rounds four and five. However, the appeal of staying champion will make this kind of a boring fight. I do not blame GSP one bit, though. One mistake, and he’s playing catch up on the ground and he doesn’t want that against Jake. I still have to go with GSP. Always comes in shape and way too many tools to win this fight.
Jorge Masvidal: GSP by jab to the face as much as he wants and better wrestling, as well.
Jason Lambert: GSP by decision.
Sam Hoger: Shields has a slim chance, and GSP owns the world they will be in. However, the last time GSP was so far ahead, he fell so far behind at the hands of Matt Serra. He learned from his last mistake [and] I think it will be a short night. GSP by KO.
Ray Elbe: American jiu-jitsu and Shields’ wrestling are enough to make this fight interesting, but there is a reason that GSP is considered the top fighter pound-for-pound. If this turns into a grappling match, Shields is more than capable of getting an upset victory, but I think GSP pulls a Charlie Sheen and just keeps winning.
Buddy Clinton: Attempting to find an advantage either way for this matchup is damn near impossible. Striking, wrestling, submissions, conditioning -- they both have it all. The only advantage could possibly go to Shields for having a little size on St. Pierre. Both could knock the other out at any moment, pull off a last-second submission or go the distance. Both want this win, which could lead to fighting not to lose instead of fighting to win. This one goes the distance, and until someone beats the champ, I see St. Pierre winning by split decision with the home-field advantage.
Billy MacDonald: First off, Shields is a tough mother [expletive]. That being said, GSP in Toronto will be too much for him this time. GSP via decision.
Sean Loeffler: So this fight reminds me of the time that Nick Thompson and Derrick Noble were getting picked on one summer in a park by the social kids or socs. The fight ended up in a fountain, where Derrick, whose nickname was “Ponyboy” at the time, was being drowned by the bullies. So in a panic Nick, whose nickname was “Johnny,” stabbed one of the attackers to death. Next, they came to the house where I was partying at with some naked chicks. By the way, my nickname in our gang was “Dallas.” Anyways, I informed them that they should go to the country to hide out. There, Johnny and Ponyboy ate sandwiches and even bleached Ponyboy’s hair blonde. They also saved some kids from a burning church, but Johnny was badly burned, so a little while after that, I came to get them and we went home. Next, the rest of us all rumbled the socs in a park in honor of our recently deceased hero friend, Johnny. I then was shot by police running away from the fight, and Ponyboy was told in a letter written by the deceased Johnny to stay gold. What does this all mean? Like in “The Outsiders” ... oops, I mean, like in my past, I think that this will be a rumble, with Jake having to hideout in the country from St. Pierre's wrestling. He will eventually have to come back to the center of the Octagon and that will be his downfall. GSP by third-round TKO. Stay gold, Jake. Stay gold.
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