Will Georges St. Pierre (left) will be able to hold Jake Shields down? | Stephen Fernandez / Splash News
Georges St. Pierre has shown a variety of skills in his domination of the UFC welterweight division, but his ability to take down opponents and control them has perhaps been the most overwhelming part of his game.
Cesar Gracie does not think St. Pierre can control UFC 129 title challenger Jake Shields, though.
“I’ve had some pretty good guys try to hold Jake down. It’s not going to happen,” said Gracie, Shields’ trainer, during a “Savage Dog Show” interview on the Sherdog Radio Network. “You can’t hold Jake down. You can’t just be on top of him and hold him.”
Shields has not lost since December 2004. En route to racking up 15 straight wins, he has also honed a dominant grappling game. That’s the approach Gracie believes he’ll use to upset St. Pierre.
“Superior grappling, I believe, is the way to win it,” Gracie said. “… I can see Jake putting a lot of pressure on this guy. You can train for Jake, but there’s really no one out there like him is the problem. It’s hard to get a guy that mimics [him]. You really don’t understand the feel of it until you train with him.”
Gracie thinks GSP’s strategy could involve sticking and moving on the feet and trying to stuff Shields’ takedowns. The UFC champion will be both the betting favorite and the fans’ favorite. With 55,000 tickets sold for the April 30 event at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, come fight time it may seem as if Shields is taking on all of Canada.
“Jake is fighting in foreign territory up in Canada,” Gracie said. “It’s going to be overwhelming. It’s going to be just huge. He has to stay focused. I’ve seen a lot of good guys not fight to their potential because it’s a big arena.”
Still, Gracie likes his fighter’s chances to win a UFC title.
“If the Jake that I know at the gym shows up at his best, I think he’ll definitely win this fight,” Gracie said. “But I also understand there’s a lot of factors. I know GSP is a great fighter. I’m really interested to see what’s going to happen. I just know that Jake has the tools to also win this fight. I think he can get it done.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 51:55).