Two elite grapplers will look to further their careers outside of the UFC when Jake Shields and Jon Fitch take each other on in the World Series of Fighting cage. Both men, once UFC welterweight title challengers, are not too far removed from their UFC careers.
Jon Fitch has fought twice since being released from the UFC, losing to Josh Burkman and winning a decision against Marcel Alfaya. Jake Shields is one of the most recent fighter to be released by the UFC. He did not waste any time looking toward The World Series of Fighting for a contract, signing with them in a matter of days. Shields vs. Fitch might be WSOF’s most highly touted fight as both fighters were both the #1 ranked challengers in their careers, however, the WSOF is making a statement by putting them under the lightweight title fight between two WSOF ‘homegrown’ fighters in Nick Newell and Just Gaethje.
Shields is stepping in as a replacement to another UFC veteran in Rousimar Palhares, who was Fitch’s original opponent. News broke recently that Palhares backed out of the fight to take care of his sick mother. Shields couldn’t have asked for a better, more high profile opponent for his first fight out of the UFC as Shields vs. Fitch could easily have been a fight set up by the UFC itself.
This fight is a testament to both the quality of the WSOF fight roster and the willingness of high profile fighters to sign with the league. If the WSOF can keep up this quality of matchmaking, the UFC and its fighters might find that not fighting under the UFC banner is not such a bad thing anymore.
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