Sherdog Preview: Rumble On The Rock 175-lb. GP

Jake Shields vs. Yushin Okami

Apr 19, 2006
OKAMI: Judo stylist and Japanese wrestler Yushin Okami (Pictures) carries a professional record of 14-2 in MMA. He trains with Caol Uno (Pictures) and the rest of Wajyutsu Keisyukai Dojo. Yushin won the Pre-PRIDE 4 tournament by defeating three opponents and winning his final match over Yuuki Tsutsui by triangle choke. He also knocked out Hidehisa Matsuda in PRIDE “The Best” 2.

He began fighting professionally in 2002 at the GMC Demolition show and has also competed in K-1, PRIDE Bushido, Pancrase, Super Brawl and M-1.

Okami rattled off six wins in Japan before traveling to Russia to face veteran Amar Suloev (Pictures). He was pounded with strikes in the opening round.

The tall Japanese fighter returned to the ring three months later to face Kousei Kubota (Pictures) in his Pancrase debut and stopped the former King of Pancrase in less than two minutes. A bout in Bushido 2 saw Okami face DEEP hero Ryuta Sakurai (Pictures) and win a unanimous decision.

Another huge challenge awaited him in Super Brawl, where he battled Falaniko Vitale (Pictures) and lost a split decision to one of the event’s homegrown superstars. He scored another win in Pancrase and moved back to the GCM to take part in the D.O.G. series. He won all three of his bouts there over Nick Thompson (Pictures), Damien Riccio (Pictures) and Brian Foster.

He beat Neo Fight veteran Myun Joo Lee in the K-1 Seoul show and then the opportunity to fight in the ROTR 9 tournament came up.

Fighting as a big underdog, Okami battled former Chute Boxe fighter and Muay Thai striker Anderson Silva (Pictures). He was getting pounded when Silva struck him illegally and was disqualified. In an ironic scene, the fighter lying on the mat unconscious was declared the winner and advanced to the semifinals.

SHIELDS: Two-time All-American wrestler and Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt Jake Shields (Pictures) carries a professional MMA record of 12-4-1. Shields trains with Gilbert Melendez (Pictures), David Terrell (Pictures), Nick Diaz (Pictures) and the rest of the Cesar Gracie (Pictures) camp. Jake also trains his boxing and kickboxing skills at the Fairtex Academy with the Fairtex Muay Thai Fight Team.

Shields began wrestling at the age of 9 and wrestled throughout high school. In MMA Jake has claimed numerous titles: the SHOOTO world middleweight belt; SHOOTO Americas championship; SHOOTO Pacific Rim crown; Gladiator Challenge super-fight; Midwest Fighting super-fight; and the Universal Above Ground Fighting North American Championship.

He is an accomplished grappler, winning the Pan American Jiu-Jitsu Championship, the Pan American Submission Open (Advanced Division) Championship and the Grappler’s Quest (Advanced Division) Championship (three times).

Jake was originally a member of Chuck Liddell (Pictures)’s SLO Kickboxing Academy and began fighting at 185 pounds. Before long it was clear that this was not his natural weight and he slimmed down to compete at 170.

After fighting in the Cobra Fight Qualifier, he competed in the IFC against Cesar Gracie (Pictures) disciple Marty Armendarez and lost to strikes late in the first round. He returned to the IFC to face undefeated Philip Miller (who subsequently left the sport to pursue law enforcement) and lose a decision.

In 2001 Shields fought a four-fight stint in Gladiator Challenge, where he went 4-0 defeating the likes of Randy Velarde, Tracy Hest, Jeremy Jackson (Pictures) and “The Prince of Leglocks” Robert Ferguson (Pictures). He fought Ray Cooper (Pictures) in the Warriors Quest 6 show and lost a decision before making the move to SHOOTO in Japan.

His debut bout was against legend Hayato Sakurai (Pictures). The bout went the distance with Shields taking the victory. He came back to the U.S. and fought in Indiana on the SHOOTO Americas card against Brazilian Top Team fighter Milton Vieira (Pictures) and won a decision. A return to Japan saw Shields hand a rare defeat to “Kid” Yamamoto’s teammate Akira Kikuchi (Pictures) by decision. And to finish ’03, he fought a bout in Pancrase against Kazuo Misaki (Pictures) that ended in a draw.

Shields battled Ray Cooper (Pictures) (whom he lost to in ’02) for the vacant SHOOTO middleweight title and won the belt in July of 2004. He lost the title five months later in a rematch with Akira Kikuchi (Pictures) by unanimous decision.

Jake fought just one MMA bout in 2005, against Toby Imada (Pictures), and won by decision. His focus last year was in the submission-grappling arena. In the Abu Dhabi 2005 Submission Fighting World Championships he beat The Ultimate Fighter contract winner Diego Sanchez (Pictures) in the elimination round and Ralph Gracie student Cameron Earle in the quarterfinals before losing to American Top Team’s Pablo Popovich. Jake went on to beat Leo Santos for third place honors that year.

Then in the opening round of the ROTR tourney, he beat former UFC middleweight champion Dave Menne (Pictures). Shields took the veteran down at will and pounded him with elbows. Though it looked like Shields had Menne hurt, the bout went the distance and Jake took a unanimous decision to move on in the tournament.

MY PICK: Shields. Okami will have a height advantage over Shields (Yushin is 6’ 2”) but he’s coming down in weight to fight in this event and it may hurt him long term. He also has good throwing skills and decent stamina. Jake hasn’t been very active over the last year and a quarter (two fights since 12/04). That’s going to make it tough if he does get to the final. I think he’ll beat Okami on sheer athletic ability but it may take some doing. Shields by decision.
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