Brittney Elkins intends to make sure Claressa Shields knows she’s in an MMA fight and not a boxing match in her PFL debut.
Elkin, a veteran of the sport, sat down with Low Kick MMA to discuss the match-up and women’s combat sports in general. She retired from competition after a serious injury back in 2019. However, Elkin comes out of retirement to welcome Shields to mixed martial arts at PFL 4 on June 10th. Elkin explained that the match-up with Shields is exciting for her when asked about returning to the cage.
“I mean, I’m not just going to fight at your local (show), I mean, that’s sad to say, because I love a lot of local promoters. The fight would have had to appeal to me and this one did like stylistically, you know, I was like, wow. How cool to have this extreme boxer want to face the MMA cage and then how cool to be asked to be one of the opponents in the ring and just be a part of this phenomenal moment.”
“I took this fight because I was like, wow, that’s, that’s a pretty cool opportunity and I couldn’t find a reason not to take this fight. I mean, my son is 15 years old and is almost a young man. I’m completely healthy. I was in shape preparing for other things that I wanted to take on. And, yeah, it just was like, all right, let’s give this a shot. Cause it is a real neat opportunity to be in this fight.”
Though she’s excited, Elkin is facing a significant challenge in the newcomer Shields. A two-time Olympic gold medalist and the only boxer, man or woman, to hold all four major titles in two weight divisions at once, there’s no question that Shields knows how to fight. Still, Elkin believes that utilizing her whole arsenal of MMA skills will make a difference in the fight.
“It’s a distance game here. I don’t want to be in her distance and I want to keep her inside (mine). I want to be inside or outside of it. A lot of the focus of this camp is getting to what Brittany does best and how do we get there safely? How do we get there the most safe? You know, and we set up the camp that way.”
“I obviously would love to get her on the ground. I think once I get ahold of her, I think she’s going to have a real hard time getting away. So, those are the things I’m kind of going into aware that these are truths. These are truths, you know. I’ve tested these truths on different things and I believe in them.”
“So, yeah, I want to grab ahold of her. I mean, I want to get my hands on her. I’m not going to stay on and try to be an Olympic boxer today.”
“But I do feel very confident in my, in the striking that I have. It’s not Claressa striking. It’s not, you know, like the exact same. I’m going to use those things that I’ve, I’ve skillfully developed over a long time and tried to just be really in the moment, in the game of seconds and inches.”
Giving Shields looks that she may not have been able to experience in her training is a significant component of Elkin’s path to victory.
“I hope that I can bring her into the deep, scary forest where she’s never seen. There’s no map there for her. You know, I think that everybody has a map of like, where these moves go to and I want to take her somewhere she’s never been. I think it’s really hard to figure out those things in the first and second round.”
“I’ve definitely been hit before. So I’m going to try to avoid being hit, especially by power shots. Avoid being led into her game by her, her tactics.”
Do you think that Brittney Elkin will defeat Clarissa Shields in her MMA debut?