WSOF 14 Fight Breakdown: Jake Shields vs. Ryan Ford

Ryan-Ford The main event of WSOF 14 is a three-round welterweight bout between Jake Shields and Ryan Ford. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Shields is a -500 favorite (bet $500 to win $100) while Ford is a +435 underdog (bet $100 to win $435). MMA linesetter Nick Kalikas opened up Shields at -390 and Ford at +270, and the public is all over Shields in the matchup. I do favor Shields here but I believe the line is too high at this point and I think there could be some value on Ford as a big underdog. Here’s why. Shields (29-7-1, 1 NC) is the former Strikeforce middleweight champion. The 35-year-old went 4-3, 1 NC overall in the UFC fighting primarily at welterweight, but was released by the world’s top MMA promotion earlier this year after being dominated for three rounds by Hector Lombard at UFC 171. Soon afterwards, Shields signed with the WSOF and after battling some injuries, will finally make his debut here against Ford. In his career, Shields has been one of the most successful welterweights/middleweights in MMA history. He has a great record, and in the last decade has only lost to Lombard, Georges St-Pierre and Jake Ellenberger. As far as wins go, he has defeated the likes of Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Martin Kampmann, Dan Henderson, Robbie Lawler, Mike Pyle, Carlos Condit, Paul Daley and Yushin Okami. That’s an impressive resume, to say the least. Shields has great grappling, and all told has won 10 fights by submission. He has excellent takedown defence and one of the best things he does is makes fight ugly and drag fighters into uncharted waters. His striking is not good, but has improved a bit in recent years. His bread and butter will always be his grappling, and most expect him to use it against Ford this weekend. With a WSOF title shot on the line, I’m expecting a vintage Shields performance, unless he’s declined more than I (and most bettors) think, which is certainly possible based on his last outing. Ford (22-4) is one of the top welterweight fighters in Canada. The 31-year-old Edmonton native is riding a six-fight win streak and overall is 10-1 over his last 11 outings, with all his recent wins coming by stoppage. Overall he has finished 20 fights — 12 by knockout, and eight by submission. He hasn’t fought the best competition out there, but he has been destructive against who he has been put in the cage with. He has wicked power in all his limbs (go see his last knockout win over Joel Powell to see for yourself) and his offensive submission game is underrated as well. His chin is solid, and he has good cardio too. Unfortunately, he has shown himself to be vulnerable to submissions in the past, as three of his losses have come by tapout, and that’s obviously a concern against a guy like Shields. But if Ford is able to keep this fight on the feet and land some bombs, then he has a very good shot at pulling off the upset, and at the odds, he could be a live dog against an under-performing Shields. My brain is telling me that Shields is going to grind Ford up against the fence, possibly land some takedowns, and either grind out a decision win or maybe even catch Ford with a guillotine choke or an armbar. But for some reason, my gut is telling me Ford is going to land a highlight-reel knockout blow and pick up the biggest win of his career in his hometown of Edmonton. I think if this was a Pick ’em fight, I would go with Shields, but at -500 I don’t see any value whatsoever and I do not recommend betting on him, even in a parlay. If anything, it could be worth putting a flier on Ford at +435 to grab the biggest win of his MMA career. I’m not that confident in Ford here, because Shields is such a consistent fighter, but this is a clear dog-or-pass situation in my eyes and I highly recommend staying away from Shields here as it’s a bit of a letdown spot.

Written by Adam Martin.

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