For the time being, UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez will remain the Bay Area's only MMA fighter to hold a significant title. The San Francisco-based Jake Shields failed to capitalize on a Welterweight Championship title fight against Canadian Georges St-Pierre at UFC 129: St-Pierre vs. Shields in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The event took place on April 30th at the Rogers Centre, and featured several American vs. Canadian bouts throughout the card.
The main event itself was actually widely considered the worst fight on an amazing card. There were seven finishes (either KO, TKO or submission) throughout the card and five decisions, but the first four decisions were fun fights that had the crowd totally into it. The main event that saw Shields challenge for the title though ... not so much. GSP simply toyed with Shields, while the challenge landed a couple punches to open up a cut. After the cut, St-Pierre acted more cautiously, and jabbed his way to another decision win. After the jump, more on other California fighters for the night.
Well, it wasn't a very good night overall. Daniel Roberts, fighting out of San Francisco as well, dropped a unanimous decision to Claude Patrick after gassing early in the second round of their three round affair. Nate Diaz out of Stockton, CA dropped a unanimous decision and even was on the receiving end of a 10-8 round (essentially a beatdown) when he took on Rory McDonald. The Los Angeles-born Charlie Valencia was on the receiving end of a vicious spinning back elbow from Ivan Menjivar and was dealt a TKO loss.
The only California-based fighter to win on the night was Jake Ellenberger, who trains and fights out of the Reign Training Center in Orange County, California. Ellenberger stepped in to replace an injured Brian Foster and took on Sean Pierson. Pierson proved game very early on, but Ellenberger eventually found his mark and dropped him with big shots from his powerful right hand.
So not a strong night for California, or the Bay Area. It's a shame that Shields was part of a main event that served to bring down the rest of what was a fantastic card, all things considered. It was Shields' first loss in fifteen fights, but he did become the first guy to take a round from GSP since 2007.