Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports reports that Jake Shields will face former BodogFight champ Nick “The Goat” Thompson for EliteXC’s vacant welterweight title during the second CBS “Saturday Night Fights” broadcast on July 26th. EliteXC has been trying to establish Shields as its official 170-pound ruler since last fall, but Shields’s title shot has been foiled repeatedly, first by Mike Pyle‘s contract disputes causing their match to be a non-title bout, then by Shields getting injured, then by Drew Fickett getting injured. As long as there are no more freak occurrences, Shields will finally get a chance to become a world champion, but the belt could be pulled from his grasp again — in the ring this time. Thompson is one of the best welterweights in the world, and represents Shields’s toughest test since April 2006, when he beat Yushin Okami and Carlos Condit in the same night at Rumble on the Rock 9. Shields has won his last nine fights; Thompson has won his last 12. Who will survive and what will be left of them?
In related news, the rumored rematch between 160-pound champ KJ Noons and Nick Diaz will not be happening on the July 26th show. Instead, Diaz will fight former King of the Cage champion Thomas “Wildman” Denny at the event, which will be held in Stockton. Denny has a 26-16 record, with wins over James Fanshier, Tony Fryklund, and most recently Malaipet Sasiprapa in a disqualification win at ShoXC in March. EliteXC most likely sees this as an easy win for the hometown anti-hero; it’s just too bad the booking had to come at the expense of matchups with Noons and Hayato Sakurai.