Jake Shields is 19-3, with one no-contest, in his last 23 appearances. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
An ominous shadow looms just beyond the view of Jake Shields and Brian Foster.
Shields will meet Foster in a World Series of Fighting welterweight title eliminator in the WSOF 17 main event on Saturday at the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. The winner earns a date with one of MMA’s most feared fighters: WSOF welterweight champion and Brazilian leg lock savant Rousimar Palhares.
A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Cesar Gracie, Shields has already held titles in Shooto, Strikeforce and EliteXC. The 36-year-old Californian made his organizational debut at WSOF 14 in October, when he submitted Canadian striker Ryan Ford with a first-round rear-naked choke. Shields’ stellar resume includes victories over reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight champion Robbie Lawler, former two-division Pride Fighting Championships titleholder Dan Henderson, onetime World Extreme Cagefighting champion Carlos Condit and 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Demian Maia. He rattled off 15 consecutive wins between Nov. 12, 2005 and Oct. 23, 2010, establishing himself as one of the sport’s premier fighters in multiple weight classes.
Foster will enter the cage on a four-fight winning streak. The 30-year-old last appeared at a Titan Fighting Championship event in May, when he went the distance for the first time in his career and claimed a three-round unanimous decision over Gilbert Smith. A dangerous and aggressive offensive fighter, Foster has put away 16 opponents inside one round. Included among those lightning-strike victories are five-, 59-, 67-, 69-, 69- and 90-second finishes.
With the Shields-Foster headliner as the primary lure, here are 10 facts surrounding WSOF 17:
FACT 1: The five men to whom Shields has lost a decision -- Hector Lombard, Georges St. Pierre, Akira Kikuchi, Ray Cooper and Phillip Miller -- own a cumulative 105-19-1 record.
FACT 2: Twenty-one of Foster’s 22 victories and all six of his losses have resulted in a finish.
FACT 3: An UFC, Maximum Fighting Championship, EliteXC, Shooto and Sengoku veteran, Brian Cobb once won a fight via full nelson, having submitted Bobby Suggs with the maneuver at a Gladiator Challenge event in July 2006.
FACT 4: Undefeated lightweight prospect Jonathan Nunez trains out of the same Syndicate MMA camp that has housed Mike Pyle, Vinny Magalhaes, John Alessio, Roxanne Modafferi and “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 7 winner Amir Sadollah.
FACT 5: Middleweights Krasimir Mladenov and Brendan Kornberger are a combined 16-0.
FACT 6: Seven of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17 graduate Adam Cella’s eight career bouts have ended inside one round, two of them in less than a minute.
FACT 7: Rudy Morales has lost one fight as an amateur and one fight as a professional, both to the same person: Roman Isbell.
FACT 8: Journeyman Danny Davis Jr. has fought in 11 different organizations during his 19-fight career: World Series of Fighting, Xtreme Fighters, Crown Fighting Championships, Caged Rage, Superior Cage Combat, Strikeforce, King of the Cage, Ring of Fire, MMA Xplosion, Worlds Collide and Global Fury Cagefighting.
FACT 9: Spawned by One Kick’s Gym and the Sergio Penha Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, Jordan Rinaldi owns a November 2010 submission victory over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 finalist Dennis Bermudez.
FACT 10: Jimmy Spicuzza graduated from Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas, the same school the produced Ryan Reeves -- better known as World Wrestling Entertainment star Ryback -- and UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste.