Claressa Shields has reflected on winning her first professional Mixed Martial Arts matchup with a third-round stoppage over Brittany Elkin in her Professional Fighting League (PFL) debut on Friday night.
Shields, 26, is one of the biggest stars in women’s boxing is currently a two-time undisputed champion in the ring. She has now turned her attention to conquering MMA and was certainly thrown in at the deep end against Elkin (3-6), as she was forced to the ground for lengthy periods in the first two rounds.
Elkin managed to obtain full mount in the opening round and unleashed a barrage of punches that Shields did very well to survive – a testament to her grit and toughness. Shields then displayed how much she has learned from training at Jackson Wink MMA by escaping an armbar attempt from Elkin, before unleashing her own barrage of shots on the feet which Elkin, in turn, did well to survive.
In the third round, Shields excellently scrambled against another takedown attempt from Elkin, and managed to rain down a fury of unanswered punches before referee Gasper Oliver stopped the fight.
Speaking to PFL after the fight, Shields explained how she emerge victorious from a tough MMA debut.
“I feel like I am dreaming, this is crazy. I never doubted myself winning a boxing match,” Shields said. “MMA, it’s like it’s possible I can lose this first fight. I just had a never-quit attitude every round. I may have lost these two rounds, but I’m not losing this fight.”
It’s very interesting to see where Shields goes from here. She has shown a very impressive amount of learning and adaptation in a very short period of time, and she is a part of what is widely considered to be one of the best gyms in the Mixed Martial Arts world in Jackson Wink, who count such elite fighters as Jon Jones and Holly Holm among their ranks. Given the amount of growth we’ve seen from Shields in such a short time, being a big success in women’s MMA is far from impossible for the two-time undisputed champion of the squared circle
How do you think Claressa Shields looked in her MMA debut?