A former two-division champion entering the UFC, Jake Shields came into the Octagon highly-touted.
Facing Martin Kampmann on Saturday at UFC 121, Shields, who was said to have a tough weight cut, tired badly but still did enough to get a split decision win to earn a shot at the welterweight title and extend his winning streak to 15.
Shields gets Kampmann to the canvas 25 seconds in. Both men battling for position now. This is a struggle. Shields finally ends up in half-guard. Shields working for mount but doing a good job maintaining his base. Shields into mount with 3:11 to go. Kampmann, though, escapes out to his feet. Kampmann now pushes Shields against the fence but Shields reverses that. Shields working for a single. They go down for a split second. Back into clinching against the cage. Kampmann with a knee inside. Another. They separate. Jab for Shields. Shields can't get a long-range single. Shields holds on to a single as the round ends.
They clinch against the cage to open the second round. Kampmann hurts Shields with a knee out of the clinch. Kampmann tries a choke but can't get it. Shields press him against the cage and now he has him on his back. Kampmann working for a guillotine but Shields maneuvers himself into side control and escapes it without worry. Kampmann pushes off and lands some knees. Shields is tiring here. Kampmann lands another big knee but Shields eventually gets him on his back. Shields mounts with 1:53 remaining but Kampmann with a hip escape to half-guard. Mount again with 1:13 remaining. Shields takes a second to regroup and Kampmann bucks out and they clinch against the cage again. Referee John McCarthy breaks them up off the cage with 23 seconds left. Kampmann tags Shields. The round ends.
McCarthy warms Shields that if he holds the shorts one more time he's taking a point.
Third round underway. Shields can't get a takedown. Kampmann sprawls again. Shields is very tired. They clinch against the cage. Kampmann finally breaks. Shields again with a takedown attempt but this time he lets it go and Kampmann ends up on top with Shields on his knees. Shields escapes and is hanging on to a single for dear life. Kampmann rolls him over and tries for a D'Arce choke. It's out. Kampmann in Shields' half-guard now. Elbows for Kampmann and Shields tries to sweep and he rolls him over with 1:45 remaining. Half-guard for Shields now. Shields passes into side control. Under a minute to go. Kampmann rolls over and Shields is on his back standing and drags him down. Shields going to work with 40 seconds left. Body triangle in. Shields lands some courtesy punches as the fight ends.
The judges see it 29-28 Kampmann, 30-27 Shields and 29-28 Shields