Claressa Shields is an incredible boxer without a doubt and the MMA world was overjoyed when she announced that she was switching sports, but now that her debut fight has been announced as Brittney Elkin, many will not be so confident of her success. Shields earned a pair of Olympic gold medals from 2012 and 2016 before moving onto her professional career where she has had even more success again. In her eleventh professional fight she maintained her unbeaten record and became the first fighter in Boxing’s four-title era to earn the title of undisputed champion in two different weightclasses.
That being said, her phenomenal success in the ring does not guarantee any success at all when she steps into the PFL cage as she will have to learn a multitude of different martial arts from scratch in order to defeat her opponent. Despite only starting training BJJ around the time her contract with PFL was announced in November 2020, she made waves in the community when she announced that she believed she could earn her black belt inside of the next two years. While almost everyone knows this simply isn’t going to happen, she is training under IBJJF no gi World Champion Roberto Alencar and has a fantastic team around her at Jackson Wink MMA so it’s intriguing to see how far she can come in a relatively short space of time.
While Claressa Shields isn’t being thrown to the wolves entirely in her first fight for PFL, Brittney Elkin is no slouch either. Elkin has a 3-6 professional MMA record and will not be starstruck at all as she has already shared the cage with an Olympic Champion in elite Judoka Kayla Harrison. Not only will she have a significant edge in the form of MMA experience, but Elkin specialises in the exact same area that Shields is a complete beginner in. Elkin is a BJJ brown belt who has already won no gi titles on the F2W mats and regularly features on their all-female cards. Alongside this, she’s also come up against some of the best female grapplers on the planet like Elisabeth Clay and Kendall Reusing at Subversiv team grappling events.
The full PFL 4 main card will be available to watch on ESPN 2 while the preliminary card will be available to watch on ESPN+ on June 10th, click here to subscribe and watch.