Jake Shields claimed a hard won split decision victory over Martin Kampmann tonight, but it was far from his best performance, appearing to run out of gas mid-way through the fight.
Despite the somewhat lackluster debut, Dana White stuck to his word and at the post-fight press conference confirmed that Shields will fight the winner of GSP Vs Koscheck for the welterweight title.
“I don’t feel any different about the kid than I did yesterday,” White said of Shields performance.
“We didn’t give him an easy fight,” White points out. “Jake got a tough guy and he got the win.”
White also added that many fighters have struggled to perform at their best in their promotional debut. “It’s a whole ‘nother ball game here in the UFC.”
For his part Shields pointed to a big weight-cut after competing at 185lbs in his last bout for Strikeforce as the major factor behind his lack of cardio in the closing stages of the fight.
Dana said that wasn’t an excuse though and that Shields should have known better. Despite that criticism he was sure we’d see a better version of the fighter next time out.
Interestingly Dana also stated that he believed Shields should have won by unanimous decision, not a split as the judges scored it. On the other hand he noted that UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta scored the fight in favor of Kampmann.