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Shields wins split decision

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Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2013 9:30 am | Updated: 9:07 am, Fri Jun 21, 2013.

‘Bad fight’ leaves UFC prez unhappy

Former Calaveras High wrestler Jake Shields grinded out a split decision victory over Tyron Woodley in a welterweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 161 Saturday at Winnipeg’s MTS Centre in Canada.

Regarded as one of MMA’s premier grapplers and jiu jitsu practitioners, Shields, 34, was unable to get the fight to the ground despite 18 takedown attempts. Despite the strong takedown defense of Woodley, a former NCAA all-American wrestler, Shields used a high volume of kicks, knees and control in the clinch to outscore Woodley on two of three judges’ scorecards, earning a split decision with scores of 27-30, 29-28 and 29-28.

Woodley connected with a spinning back fist in the third round, but was otherwise neutralized offensively by Shields.

“It was a lot closer than I would have liked, but I won,” Shields said after the fight. “I was more aggressive, even though our two styles sort of canceled each other out.”

Shields improved to 28-6-1 as an MMA pro and the former Strikeforce and Elite XC champ is officially 3-2 since joining the UFC.

Woodley, 31, who was coming off a first-round knockout of Jay Hieron at UFC 156, dropped to 11-2 in his pro career.

Saturday’s fight was on the preliminary card and Shields hopes the win is enough to get him back on one of the UFC’s main cards, perhaps with a chance to avenge his most recent loss.

“I think this puts me back on the main cards,” Shields said. “I want a top-five guy. If I could get a Rory MacDonald or someone like that, that’s who I am aiming at. If I could pick, I would get Jake Ellenberger again. I did a lot of things wrong in that fight he beat me. I had just lost my dad and I want to get that win back.”

Despite the victory, Shields didn’t score many points with UFC fans or officials.

The lack of action in Saturday’s bout was frequently jeered by the sellout crowd at the MTS Centre, which had been otherwise spirited all evening heading into the fight. Following the event, UFC President Dana White voiced his agreement with the fans.

“That fight sucked,” White said. “I almost went home. It was a bad fight all around.”

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