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Blog courtesy of MMA Recruiter

Shields’ New UFC Home Offers No Welcoming Gift

By: J. Alex Mattis

On October 23 Brock Lesnar will defend his UFC heavyweight title against fast-rising superstar Cain Velasquez in what could be one of the best fights of the year. But before the main event goes down, the UFC debut of the Strikeforce middleweight and welterweight champion will take center stage. The ultra-talented and highly ranked Jake Shields finally will compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Shields is coming into the UFC riding an enormous wave of hype and momentum. Shields is currently on a 14-fight win streak, which includes wins over such notable fighters as Dan Henderson, Robbie Lawler, Paul Daley, Carlos Condit and Yushin Okami. Shields hopes to continue riding this wave and snatch a victory in his first UFC outing which would put him closer to a title showdown with Georges St. Pierre, or possibly Anderson Silva.

While Shields debut may be looked at as his first step to a UFC title shot, his opponent is someone who has been swimming around the welterweight title picture for over a year.

Martin “The Hitman” Kampmann is a true dark horse of the UFC. Prior to his drop to welterweight early in 2009, he was tearing through most of his opponents in the middleweight division. Kampmann shutdown future title challenger Thales Leites, he put the hype surrounding Drew McFedries to bed with a 1st round submission, and was scheduled to main event UFC 72 against Rich Franklin but was sidelined by injury.

Upon his return, Kampmann choked out UFC-vet Jorge Rivera and was back in the mix. Shortly after, Kampmann ran into Nate Marquardt in a fight with middleweight title shot implications. Unfortunately for Martin, he was caught quickly and knocked off the middleweight ladder. Following the loss Kampmann made potentially the best decision of his career and dropped to welterweight. In his second fight at 170lbs he put on an outstanding performance against a debuting star and champion (sound familiar?). Kampmann edged out a decision win over the then WEC welterweight champion, Carlos Condit.

Kampmann was set for a title contention fight with Mike Swick. However, when Swick dropped out and Paul Daley filled in, things took a violent turn for “The Hitman.” The questionable game plan of standing and striking with Daley led Kampmann to his third career defeat. Since the loss at UFC 103 Kampmann destroyed Jacob Volkmann and most recently dominated Paulo Thiago in a fight that was expected to be very competitive.

While the victory over Thiago was enough to put title shot buzz around Kampmann, a win over Shields would all but guarantee “The Hitman” a crack at welterweight gold.

While the betting odds, and many experts within the industry would tell you that the Strikeforce champ is in for a successful debut on 10/21/2010, this fight is a very dangerous one for Shields. The combination of Kampmann’s solid wrestling, consistently improving striking, and underrated ground game (and the always looming “octagon jitters”) make for a fight that Shields cannot overlook.

It’s undeniable that Shields is one of the best submission artists in MMA today. While some may think he is too “one dimensional,” it’s obvious that one dimension works out pretty well for him. But Martin Kampmann is a handful for any fighter at 170 and will help establish Jake Shields’ spot is in the land of UFC welterweights.