Jake Shields Aims to Make a Statement vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama

When Jake Shields entered the UFC, he was primed to become the top man at welterweight. After securing himself a shot at Georges St-Pierre, Shields is now facing a two-fight losing skid as he enters UFC 144 to meet Yoshihiro Akiyama.

UFC 144 takes place this Saturday night from Saitama, Japan. Akiyama and Shields will be part of the pay-per-view main card, which is highlighted by a UFC lightweight title fight between Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson.

After leaving Strikeforce, Shields came to the UFC with plenty of hype. A loss to GSP, and a knockout defeat at the hands of Jake Ellenberger, has him seeking plenty of redemption vs. Akiyama.

"I've been around this sport for a long time, though, and I realize that if you get two losses in a row, you're not a contender anymore," said Shields, in a recent interview with Full Contact Fighter. "I also know that if you come back with an impressive win, you're the greatest thing again; it's the way the majority of these fans are. A lot of them have really short memory spans, so I know I'm in a situation where I have to go out and reprove myself."

Akiyama is coming down from middleweight, where he lost three straight fights to Chris Leben, Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort. Shields added that, "He's coming off some losses but most of them have been really close fights, and some tough talent, so I'm definitely not taking him lightly."

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