Claressa Shields is one of the hottest names in women’s MMA right now after the legendary boxer earned a come-from-behind TKO win over Brittney Elkin at PFL 4 earlier this month. It was her MMA debut as she begins a new venture away from a sport that she essentially cleaned house in.
But as Shields continues to develop as an MMA fighter, PFL President Ray Sefo has close eyes on her progress in the octagon as she gets more fights under her belt.
“There’s still a lot to learn,” Sefo told MMA Fighting. “In terms of how she pulled through, I was impressed not only that she was so determined that the fight wasn’t going to end but if she was going to win or lose, she was going to make sure that she was going to give it a fight.”
“It’s a different sport. There’s a lot to learn, not only your wrestling but also your jiu-jitsu game. There is a lot to learn and hopefully, she’ll pick it up fast.”
It wasn’t an easy debut win for Shields who struggled early on with Elkin’s ground game in the opening rounds of the fight. Elkin came close on a few occasions to securing a fight-ending submission, but Shields was able to escape multiple attempts and stay alive in the fight.
The tables turned drastically in the third and final round when Shields showed off an impressive sprawl and takedown defense as Elkin began to fatigue. Shields then showed off her electric hand speed, got the fight to the ground, and was able to get the TKO win via ground-and-pound to end the fight.
Shields trains alongside some of the best MMA fighters in the world at Jackson-Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, NM. She has worked alongside fellow female greats such as Michelle Waterson and Holly Holm, as well as the former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones; among others.
What were your thoughts on Claressa Shields’ MMA and PFL debut?