Jake Shields grappled to a draw Saturday at Metamoris 5. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Jake Shields competed against Roberto de Souza in the secret match of Metamoris 5 in Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday, holding his own for 20 minutes en route to a draw.
While it may have seemed as if Shields had known he would be competing in the submission-only event for quite some time, the truth is he agreed to the bout after speaking to Metamoris founder Ralek Gracie just last week.
“I love jiu jitsu -- it’s my favorite sport -- but my whole focus has been on MMA for the last seven or eight years. I have only really had one jiu-jitsu match. It was so cool to do this. I didn’t really have any time to prepare. I mean, Ralek called me last weekend when I was in Maui. I was on vacation with my family, so I only had two workouts to prepare,” Shields told Sherdog.com “I really would have liked to do some 20-minute rounds instead of five. That was the only downside. I had to pace myself because I have never trained 20 minutes straight. Hopefully I do it again and get three weeks’ notice so I can get a little more training time.”
Before Saturday, Shields was last in action at WSOF 14, finishing Ryan Ford via submission. As most fighters do after a fight, Shields took some time away from the gym, but once he got the offer to compete, he got back to training as soon as possible.
“I would love to do it again. I don’t even care if it’s the same opponent. I would just like a month to train because I literally had a week to prepare, but since I was on vacation, I could only get in the gym like two days.”
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor also praised what Metamoris was doing for the sport of jiu-jitsu, in particular providing a place for practitioners of the sport to get paid to compete.
“I would even be open to being in the secret matchup again, but I would prefer to know ahead of time. I just like to compete, especially grappling,” Shields said. “Grappling has always been my favorite, but traditionally there isn’t much money in it, so it’s nice now that there is a professional way to do it.”
Shields’ match was one of five draws on the night, but while he does give credit to de Souza’s prowess on the mat, the Cesar Gracie Fight Team member also chalked it up to pacing himself for the full 20-minute session.
“It was a combination of things. One was the fact that he was a great competitor, but I also blame myself partially,” Shields explained. “Like I said, I hadn’t done any 20-minute training sessions so I was a little worried in the back of my head about pushing too hard and breaking myself. It wasn’t until the final five minutes where I started pushing and said, ‘Well, if I gas now, I can keep going.’”
The two competitors in a secret match at Metamoris don’t know who their opponent is until the audience is told. While this is much different than a mixed martial arts fight, where fighters know their foe months in advance, Shields turned to his wrestling background to mentally prepare himself for the unknown.
“That doesn’t bother me personally. I know for some people it does, but I come from a wrestling background where we train for a tournament, not just one person. In MMA, you get used to getting ready for one person, but I like the idea of going out and having to adapt,” Shields told Sherdog.com “I had no idea who he was, what he was going to do. Even when I saw him on the mat, I don’t follow jiu jitsu that closely so I didn’t know who I was going against. In the beginning his guard game gave me a little trouble in the first half of the match, because in MMA they don’t use that style of guard, but in the second half I started to adapt.”