UFC Fight Night 25: Shields vs. Ellenberger Preview & Event Coverage
By Justin Bolduc
This weekend the UFC returns to Louisiana for the first time since 2002. The Battle on the Bayou features former Strikeforce middleweight champion and recent UFC contender Jake Shields against top-20 ranked Jake Ellenberger. Also on the card is The Ultimate Fighter 11 winner Court McGee against Korean stand-out Dongi Yang.
Two additional bouts will be on the main card, which is set to air on Spike TV. The opening bout of the broadcast features middleweights Alan Belcher and Jason MacDonald in an intriguing striker versus grappler match-up, while the other bout features The Ultimate Fighter 12 winner Jonathan Brookins against WEC veteran Erik Koch in a featherweight attraction.
Eight bouts fill out the preliminary card which will air free on the UFC’s official Facebook page. The opening bout of the night features TUF alum Justin Edwards against Wand Fight Team’s Jorge Lopez. Mike Lullo takes on Robert Peralta who fills in as a replacement for injured Mackens Semerzier. Mike Stumpf also appears on the card as a replacement, filling in for Daniel Roberts against T.J. Waldburger.
TUF cast members Clay Harvison and Seth Baczynski will meet in a welterweight bout, while bantamweights Ken Stone and Donny Walker face off. Fan favorite and TUF 7 alum Matt Riddle looks to bounce back from the second loss of his career against undefeated UFC newcomer Lance Benoist and Evan Dunham tries to break a two-fight losing streak – the first two losses of his career, against Strikeforce veteran and TUF cast member Shamar Bailey. Once-beaten Cody McKenzie also looks to rebound from his first career loss against Vagner Rocha, who enters Saturday’s bout coming off a loss in his UFC debut.
Jake Shields (26-5-1) vs. Jake Ellenberger (24-5)
Jake Shields joined the UFC as a hot commodity. Regarded as one of the best welterweights in the world, Shields made the most of his final Strikeforce opportunity by defeating Dan Henderson to claim the promotion’s middleweight title.
Shields then joined the UFC mix where he won his promotional debut in a lackluster split decision against Martin Kampmann. Shields then challenged Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight championship, but lost a five round unanimous decision, breaking a fifteen-fight win streak.
Shields’ fifteen-fight win streak came over nearly six years through Rumble on the Rock, Elite XC, and Strikeforce, among smaller shows. During that span he handed losses to recent UFC contender Yushin Okami, former EXC champion Robbie Lawler, upcoming TUF coach Jason “Mayhem” Miller, former WEC champion Carlos Condit, and highly-regarded fighters Mike Pyle, Nick Thompson, and Paul Daley.
UFC Record: 1-1
Strengths: Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, NCAA Div II wrestling background, durable
Weaknesses: Poor stand-up
Key Wins: Dan Henderson, Jason Miller, Mike Pyle, Nick Thompson, Paul Daley, Toby Imada, Martin Kampmann, Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit, Dave Menne, Renato Verissimo, Ido Pariente, Ray Cooper, Akira Kikuchi, Hayato Sakurai, Robbie Lawler
Notable Losses: Georges St. Pierre, Akira Kikuchi, Phillip Miller, Ray Cooper, Marty Armendarez
Jake Ellenberger made a splash in his UFC debut despite losing. Ellenberger faced former WEC champion Carlos Condit in an exciting bout, just losing out in a split decision. Since then he has rattled off four straight victories and owns eight wins in his last nine appearances.
Following the loss to Condit, Ellenberger returned against top-twenty ranked Mike Pyle, winning by second round TKO. He continued to gain momentum with a doctor’s stoppage against John Howard before edging out a split decision over Carlos Eduardo Rocha. Most recently he knocked out Sean Pierson in the first round of UFC 129.
Ellenberger previously competed in Bellator, Bodog, and the IFL and owns notable career victories over Pat Healy, Jose Landi-Jons, and LaVerne Clark. Like his upcoming opponent, Ellenberger has an NCAA Div II wrestling background. Ellenberger holds a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
UFC Record: 4-1 (3 TKO)
Strengths: Heavy handed, NCAA Div II wrestling background, good ground and pound
Weaknesses: Struggles off his back
Key Wins: Mike Pyle, John Howard, Pat Healy, Jose Landi-Jons, Sean Pierson, LaVerne Clark
Notable Losses: Carlos Condit, Jay Hieron, Rick Story, Derrick Noble, Delson Heleno
Alan Belcher (16-6) vs. Jason MacDonald (25-14)
PDG’s Match-Up of the Night
Alan Belcher quickly became a fan favorite in the UFC’s middleweight division with his exciting Muay Thai skills and consistently exciting performances. Belcher enters this Saturday’s bout with a 7-4 UFC record and riding a two-fight win streak.
After losing a unanimous decision in his UFC debut to Yushin Okami, Belcher scored a highlight reel knockout over former Sengoku champion Jorge Santiago. Belcher suffered a setback when he was submitted by The Ultimate Fighter 3 winner Kendall Grove, but was able to rebound with a pair of wins over Sean Salmon and Kalib Starnes. His momentum was cut short however when he was stopped by Jason Day.
Belcher returned from the loss with a split decision over TUF 3 finalist Ed Herman before scoring an impressive guillotine submission victory over PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix finalist Denis Kang. Belcher was then routed in a controversial split decision against Yoshihiro Akiyama, but was able to come back with a first round stoppage against Wilson Gouveia. Most recently Belcher stopped The Ultimate Fighter 4 finalist and former UFC contender Patrick Cote with a second round rear naked choke at UFC 113.
UFC Record: 7-4 (3 TKO, 3 Sub)
Strengths: Good Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, explosive
Weaknesses: Struggles most when opponent sets the pace
Key Wins: Denis Kang, Patrick Cote, Wilson Gouveia, Ed Herman, Jorge Santiago, Kalib Starnes
Notable Losses: Yushin Okami, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Kendall Grove, Jason Day, Marvin Eastman, Edwin Aguilar
Jason MacDonald originally made a name for himself when he first joined the UFC for his wins over The Ultimate Fighter cast members. His first UFC run, which saw submission victories over Ed Herman, Chris Leben, and Jason Lambert, saw him compile a record of 5-5 before he was released.
Following his release MacDonald lost to TUF 4 winner Travis Lutter under the MFC banner. “The Athlete” was able to rebound at MFC 23 with a split decision over Solomon Hutcherson before gaining momentum with a triangle choke submission over long-time MMA veteran Vernon “Tiger” White.
MacDonald then rematched former IFL middleweight champion Matt Horwich, winning a unanimous decision and earning a return to the UFC. MacDonald faced John Salter in his promotional return, but suffered a grotesque leg injury mid-way through the first round. He returned a year later however to win his most recent bout against Ryan Jensen by triangle choke in just ninety-seven seconds at UFC 129.
UFC Record: 6-6 (2 TKO, 4 Sub)
Strengths: Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, underrated striking, experienced
Weaknesses: Struggles most with strikers
Key Wins: Chris Leben, Ed Herman, Jason Lambert, Rory Singer, Matt Horwich, Vernon White, Ryan Jensen, Solomon Hutcherson, Joe Doerksen (2), Gideon Ray
Notable Losses: Rich Franklin, Travis Lutter, Matt Horwich, Demian Maia, Yushin Okami, Wilson Gouveia, Nate Quarry, Patrick Cote, Kalib Starnes, Marvin Eastman, Shonie Carter, Jason Brilz, Bill Mahood
*Also appearing on the main card is The Ultimate Fighter 11 winner Court McGee (13-1) against Korean stand-out Dongi Yang (10-1). McGee is currently on a seven-fight win streak, including his two UFC performances. McGee won the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter by stopping Kris McCray with a second round rear naked choke. Most recently McGee stopped Ryan Jensen with a third round arm-triangle choke at UFC 121. Yang enters Saturday’s bout riding a TKO win over Rob Kimmons at UFC Live 3. Yang lost his UFC debut by split decision to Chris Camozzi, but was undefeated prior. Yang has competed twice in DEEP and once in Sengoku where he defeated Pawel Nastula.
*The final main card bout features The Ultimate Fighter 12 winner Jonathan Brookins (12-3) against WEC veteran Erik Koch (12-1). Brookins is currently on a four-fight win streak, including winning his UFC debut over Michael Johnson. Brookins has competed once in Bellator and the WEC and holds career victories over Stephen Ledbetter, Allen Berube, Luis Palomino, and Yves Jabouin. Koch enters Saturday’s bout riding a three-fight win streak, including a knockout over Raphael Assuncao in his UFC debut. Koch, who owns a 3-1 WEC record, holds notable career victories over T.J. O’Brien, Bendy Casimir, Tyler Combs, and Jameel Massouh.
UFC Fight Night 25: Battle on the Bayou Fight Card:
Main Card (Spike TV):
Jake Shields vs. Jake Ellenberger (Main Event)
Court McGee vs. Dongi Yang
Jonathan Brookins vs. Erik Koch
Alan Belcher vs. Jason MacDonald (PDG’s Match-Up of the Night)
Preliminary Card (Facebook):
Cody McKenzie vs. Vagner Rocha
Evan Dunham vs. Shamar Bailey
Matt Riddle vs. Lance Benoist
Ken Stone vs. Donny Walker
Clay Harvison vs. Seth Baczynski
T.J. Waldburger vs. Mike Stumpf
Mike Lullo vs. Robert Peralta
Justin Edwards vs. Jorge Lopez