Boxing’s No.1 pound-for-pound female fighter, Claressa Shields staged a late comeback against Brittney Elkin last night at PFL 4 to win her MMA debut.
Despite only being 26-years-old, Shields is already A two-time Olympic gold medalist in boxing as well as being a three-division world champion, but while she has an undefeated 11-0 record in the ring, there were times last night where it looked like she may be on the verge of losing her first bout as an MMA fighter.
Elkin may not have had her glittering resume, and in fact is only 3-7 as an MMA fighter, had lost her last three bouts and was coming back after a two-and-a-half year layoff, but what the 35-year-old did have over Shields was years of experience training and competing in mixed martial arts, and she utilized that in the opening rounds to expose her opponents underdeveloped ground game.
Shields has been dedicated to training in MMA for seven months while being coached by two of the best in the business in Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn, but it was evident that was simply not enough time to really flesh out her skill-set as Elkin was able to mount her and land ground and pound with relative ease, though without doing much in the way of damage.
On the rare occasion when Shields did have a brief opportunity to let her hands go she immediately looked dangerous, but in the end it was her determination not to be taken down in the third round that paved the way for her to turn the tables on a tiring Elkin.
Stuffing a takedown attempt, Shields resisted the urge of her coaches to bring the fight back to the feet, and instead went on the offensive, with a ground and pound barrage forcing a TKO stoppage.
So it was a big night for Shields and she showed the grit and determination of a champion to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, but hopefully she’s given more time to develop and and gain experience in the cage before she’s thrown in against higher level opponents.
PFL 4 Results:
Claressa Shields def. Brittney Elkin via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 1:44
Clay Collard def. Joilton Lutterbach via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Bubba Jenkins def. Bobby Moffett via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Brendan Loughnane def. Tyler Diamond via majority decision (30-27, 29-27, 28-28)
Natan Schulte def. Alex Martinez via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Marcin Held via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Loik Radzhabov def. Akhmed Aliev via KO (strikes) – Round 1, 0:27
Sheymon Moraes def. Jesse Stirn via submission (kimura) – Round 2, 4:59
Chris Wade def. Arman Ospanov via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 2:18