The UFC has added 2 more big names to their already impressive roster. Former Strikeforce Middleweight champion Jake Shields and former PRIDE Super Heavyweight Mark Hunt are both coming to the UFC for the first time in their careers. Although both are well known MMA fighters, they are going in opposite directions. What can fans expect out of these guys?
Jake Shields is 25-4-1 and riding an impressive 14 fight winning streak. He was one of the top welterweights in the world, but moved up to middleweight mainly because of the lack of challenges in the 170 pound division outside the UFC. He quickly became the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion with a win over Jason Miller and then defended the belt against Dan Henderson.
Shields moved from a Top Ranked welterweight to a Top Ranked middleweight seamlessly, but with his move to the UFC he will now return to his natural weight class of 170. His first bout in the UFC will be against fellow contender Martin Kampmann at a yet to be determined date.
What to expect: If Shields gets past Kampmann look for him to either get a crack at Fitch/Alves or shot at Georges St. Pierre and the untouchable welterweight belt. He is not the most exciting guy in the sport, but 14 straight wins means he won’t need many more to get a title shot. A fight vs. Anderson Silva down the line could happen, but don’t hold your breath. Shields is an immediate factor in the welterweight division and a great sign for the UFC.
Mark Hunt is just 5-6 in his MMA career. He has 30 kickboxing wins, but just 11 MMA fights under his belt, his wide belt. I am a Hunt fan because of his PRIDE resume, but his signing was head scratching. He has lost 5 straight fights. Although it was against talented fighters (Josh Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Melvin Manhoef, Gegard Mousasi). He is still remembered for 2 of the greatest victories in MMA history, over Mirko Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva in the prime of both of their careers in PRIDE.
But 5 straight losses? I thought the UFC didn’t hire fighters on a losing streak. It’s interesting. Hunt will make his UFC debut in September at UFC 119 vs. Sean McCorkle. Count me as intrigued to see what Hunt can do, but I’d be shocked if he cracks the Top 10 in the ever competitive UFC Heavyweight division.
What to expect: Hunt will be fun to watch. I want to see what he has left in the tank. No one thought he would beat Cro Cop or Wanderlei at the time he fought them, but can you see him competing with Brock, Carwin, or Cain? Me neither.