Pros Picks: Lawler vs. Shields

By Mike Sloan Jun 5, 2009
Robbie Lawler has been on a roll, going undefeated in his last six fights and scoring five finishes along the way. His opponent Saturday at Strikeforce has been even hotter, though. Jake Shields hasn’t lost since 2004, racking up 11 straight wins.

Lawler is the No. 4-ranked middleweight in the world. Shields is the No. 4-ranked welterweight, and Strikeforce has done a remarkable job in pitting the two contenders together in what should be one heck of a showdown.

The general consensus around the mixed martial arts world is that Lawler should win if the fight remains standing and Shields should triumph if he can bring the ruthless one to the canvas. chatted with dozens of professional fighters and trainers to gauge their thoughts on the matchup:

Luigi Fioravanti: If it stays on the feet, Lawler by KO. If it goes to the ground, Shields will pull off a submission.

Erik Paulson: Robbie is tough as shit, but Jake is (at) the top of his game. Robbie has heavy hands and definitely has a slugger’s chance once Jake gets the takedown.

Scott Bieri: Jake Shields’ American jiu-jitsu will be the difference in this one. Lawler is game, but Jake’s smothering grappling (will) get him the submission win.

Guy Mezger: The Lawler-Shields fight is tough to call. It either goes boring win for Shields or KO for Lawler.

Jaime Fletcher: I like Jake’s chances on the ground and Lawler on the stand up. Classic striker/grappler matchup. I got Shields by some made-up NorCal American jiu-jitsu hold in the first or second round.

Cesar Gracie: Shields by tapout.

Dave Mandel/

Shields is a slight underdog.
Kit Cope: The Shields/Lawler fight is going to be the most dynamic fight we’ll see that night. Lawler has a strong edge on the striking, but I think it will ultimately end on the ground with Jake in a dominant position. Robbie is a good scrambler, but Jake is very strong with holding position, especially in mount, which he’ll end up at on top of Robbie.

Kevin Burns: If the fight stays standing, I see Lawler winning easily by KO or decision. … If Jake can get the fight to the ground, he wins by submission.

Travis Lutter: I think Jake will take this one. He has been a terror as of late, and I think Robbie has a hard time with grapplers.

Mike Whitehead: Robbie by KO! And I also pick Whitehead to win also … just a hunch.

Marvin Eastman: Robbie Lawler (will) win by KO in the second round.

Stav Economou: Lawler KO third round.

Jamie Varner: Lawler TKO.

Tom Gavrilos: Lawler is going to be very hard to submit, even for Jake, and clearly has the heavier hands. Lawler TKO.

Michael Guymon: Shoot, this is the classic matchup of striker versus grappler. It’s simple: If this fight stays on the feet, Robbie; if it goes to the ground, Jake. That's all I can say on this one; otherwise, I will be getting a call from Jake or Robbie wanting to hang me (laughs).

Enson Inoue: I pick Jake Shields.

Cung Le: Tough one to call (no pick).

Gabe Ruediger: Got to go with Jake. Lawler is very tough and hits hard, but Jake's grappling is very high level and if and when it hits the mat, Jake will dominate there. Submission for Jake, not sure which round.

Stephane Vigneault: I think Jake Shields (made) a mistake (going to) 185 against Lawler. I think a TKO win by Lawler. Yes, Shields is an awesome grappler, but I think he is not gonna be able to handle the power of Robbie Lawler.

Robin Black: I don't think Shields can handle Lawler. Shit, not many people can handle Lawler. Can Shields pull off a slick sub? Maybe, but more likely Lawler will win this by face smash. Either way, (a) fun fight to watch. Probably Lawler, round two KO.

Ben Saunders: Man, I love watching Lawler fight. The guy is a beast! I believe that Lawler will be too powerful and dangerous standing for Jake. He trains with good wrestlers and has good takedown defense. Jake hasn't shown the best hands in the game, and I feel if Lawler plays the game right, he should win by KO. If Jake gets him down, it will definitely be in his favor, but I believe Lawler has enough skill to defend and get back to his feet. But I respect them both as fighters, and it is MMA and anything can happen. Hell, I've seen the fake shot to big overhand right take out the best of them. It's notorious for causing the biggest upsets. The wrestler knocking out the striker, something no one ever thought would happen, yet in MMA you see it happen more and more often. Fake the shot and as his hands drop for the sprawl .... BOOM! It's a bitch! Either way it will be a great fight!

Patrick Cote: I’m going with Lawler by pure power.

Pros who picked Lawler: 9
Pros who picked Shields: 7
Pros who couldn’t decide: 6
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