(Jake Shields, workin’ them pads.)
It was confirmed today that the March 29th EliteXC/Strikeforce event featuring Frank Shamrock‘s fight against Cung Le will also host another high-profile match — Jake Shields and Drew Fickett will meet to decide EliteXC’s first-ever welterweight championship. Ranked #6 on our list of the top 10 welterweights in the world, Jake Shields is a former Shooto welterweight champ who has defeated the likes of Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit during his current nine-fight win streak; his last two fights were for EliteXC, and resulted in first-round wins by stoppage. Drew Fickett is a veteran of Rage in the Cage and the UFC, and complied a 4-2 record in the Octagon including a win over Josh Koscheck. Fickett has never fought for EliteXC before, but he’s won his last three matches since losing to Karo Parisyan by decision at UFC Fight Night 7 in December 2006.
The welterweight championship will be the third divisional belt awarded by EliteXC since its inaugural event in February of last year. The organization crowned Murilo “Ninja” Rua its first middleweight champ on 6/22/07 with his defeat of Joey Villasenor, but Robbie Lawler took the title three months later with his TKO of Rua at EliteXC: Uprising. KJ Noons became EliteXC’s first lightweight champion at the “Renegade” event on 11/10/07 when Nick Diaz‘s eyelids tore apart and the fight had to be stopped. We’ll make a wild projection here and say that Jake Shields will be joining their ranks in March — and for the record, we’re fairly certain that Frank Shamrock will use his enormous ground-fighting advantage to put away Cung Le and retain his Strikeforce middleweight belt in the show’s main event.