EliteXC welterweight Jake Shields (20-4-1) will finally get a chance to fight for the organization's 170-pound title.
EliteXC officials tell MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Shields will next fight during the organization's second CBS show, which takes place July 26 -- possibly in St. Louis.
Two previously scheduled title fights between Shields and former UFC fighter Drew Fickett (34-5) fell apart due to injuries, and it now looks like Shields could fight either Nick Thompson (36-9-1) or Jay Hieron (15-4) for the first-ever title.
"EliteXC: Unfinished Business" was announced over the weekend (see: event announcement), and the event will feature a headline bout between EliteXC middleweight champ Robbie Lawler (15-4) and Scott Smith (13-4). In addition to that title fight and Shields', Antonio Silva (10-1) may also fight for the the heavyweight belt against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.
Shields, perhaps the only top-10 welterweight not under contract to Zuffa, is 2-0 with EliteXC and has won nine straight fights, which included stops with BodogFIGHT and Rumble on the Rock. His list of victims includes top UFC middleweight contender Yushin Okami, WEC welterweight champ Carlos Condit, former UFC champ Dave Menne, and most recently, Xtreme Couture fighter Mike Pyle. In late 2007, he signed a long-term deal with EliteXC -- with the promise he would get to fight for the title.
Shields had been scheduled to fight Fickett in March at a Strikeforce/EliteXC co-promoted show, but a back injury forced Shields out of the title fight. It was then rescheduled for June at this past weekend's "EliteXC: Return of the King" event, but Fickett pulled out of the show with injury. Oddly, though, Fickett picked up a victory June 7 at Rage in the Cage 111 -- and EliteXC officials are well aware of it.
With Fickett now apparently on the outs with the organization, Shields' camp expects him to fight either Thompson, who reigned as a BodogFIGHT veteran before the organization unceremoniously shut down, or Hieron, one of the International Fight League's most notable fighters. (Considering Thompson's 12-fight win streak and notoriety from fighting in the UFC, he'd probably be the most marketable opponent for Shields.)
As it stands today, EliteXC has just two title-holders: middleweight champ Lawler and lightweight title-holder KJ Noons. The potential addition of two more -- and crowning them in front a national TV audience -- would be a solid step for the organization.
EliteXC's first "Saturday Night Fights" event on May 31 featured Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson's third-round TKO of James Thompson, and a controversial no-contest (due to an eye poke) between Lawler and Smith. The broadcast peaked with more than 6.5 million viewers (and averaged 4.9 million viewers), which promoted CBS executives to ask for a quick follow-up event.link