There are several key Welterweight fights at UFC 171, including a fight to crown a new Welterweight champion. However, one overlooked fight on the card is an important bout between Jake Shields and Hector Lombard. While the fight has the potential for both an exciting finish or an excruciating decision, one thing about it remains certain. The winner will find themselves quite high in the pecking order at 170. Jake Shields, for one, believes that an impressive win, particularly a finish, might be enough to earn himself a title shot.
“Guys will say whatever, like, ‘It’s going to be an easy fight,’ but when you’re fighting someone at the top level, we all know that it’s not going to be an easy fight,” Shields told MMAjunkie Radio. “I don’t think Hector’s going to be an easy fight. I’d be stupid to say that. I could pretend in this interview and say, ‘Oh, I’m going to walk right through him,’ but Hector’s a beast, man…I’m on a good win streak right now, and I want to go out there put Hector away and hopefully finish, which isn’t an easy task… I would be the first guy to do it and get a title shot.”
Shields (29-6-1, 4-2-1 UFC), looks to build on his 3-fight win-streak with a win over Lombard. He most recently derailed the fast-rising Demian Maia, and before that, he defeated Tyron Woodley, Ed Herman, and Yoshihiro Akiyama, though the Herman loss was overturned to a no-contest, due to a failed drug test. Shields also holds past wins over several of the top 170-pounders, including Carlos Condit and Robbie Lawler, a fact which he also pointed out in the interview.
Meanwhile, Lombard (33-4-1, 2-2 UFC), the former Bellator Middleweight champion, looks for consistency in the Octagon. Since joining the UFC in 2012, he has alternated lackluster decision losses to Tim Boestch and Yushin Okami with brutal knockout victories over Rousimar Palhares and Nate Marquardt.