At UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson, the Bay Area saw two of its top fighters go in opposite directions. Quinton Jackson lost a match he was definitely favored to win against Ryan Bader, while Jake Shields got his UFC career back on track with a unanimous decision win over Yoshihiro Akiyama.
In this instance, "opposite directions," isn't much of an extreme, not due to how poorly "Rampage" lost, but more so to how poorly Shields won. Since coming to the UFC, Shields is now 2-2, but most would argue that he should have lost in his split decision victory over Martin Kampmann in his first UFC fight. Some would now argue that he should be 0-4, giving Akiyama the nod.
The problem with Shields' win was the fact that he clearly beat somebody who could have and should have beat him on Saturday. That kind of thing does happen a lot - a fighter will score a flash knockout over a fighter who has the preception of being better - but that's not what happened here.
What happened was Shields looked bad in every aspect of the fight, struggling to look like he's ever spent a day training striking, failing to secure takedowns to work his strong jiu-jitsu game and generally looking very, very sloppy in the octagon. His angles were poor, he kept slipping and he threw some of the silliest kicks you'll ever see.
Unfortunately for Akiyama, he was far too complacent. Akiyama used much better angles, manhandled Shields and stuffed just about all of his takedowns. He landed the better shots and looked like the stronger fighter, but Shields landed far, far more strikes. They were poor strikes that didn't do any damage, but they were strikes none the less.
What do you do when a fighter simply looks like he's better in the octagon, but doesn't actually fight his opponent? You give it to the guy who looks bad, but is at least trying and landing something not entirely unlike a punch or kick. Shields deserved the win on Saturday, even if it was a very poor performance. He's going to need to do better in his next outing, especially because he'll likely be paired up with a winner.