Claressa Shields wins MMA debut via third-round TKO

Claressa Shields is 1-0 as an MMA fighter. The three-division boxing champion scored a third-round TKO win over Brittney Elkin in her MMA debut, the main event of 2021’s PFL 4.

Shields’ punching power was clearly apparent through the first two rounds, but was mitigated by Elkin repeatedly trying to take down Shields. It wasn’t surprising to see Shields’ have a weakness in her ground game, but she managed to avoid a defeat by submission.

Attempting to take Shields to the ground didn’t go nearly as well for Elkin in the third round, as Shields ended up in a dominant position and proceeded to go to town on her opponent. After a litany of shots to the head, the ref called the fight for Shields.

“My coach said ‘Let her up,” he was saying ‘Let her up,’ and I told myself ‘Hell nah,'” Shields said after the bout. By the PFL’s count, Shields outstruck Elkin 90-43 in the fight, with 39 arm strikes, two leg strikes and 49 on the ground.

Shields made waves late last year when she interrupted an undefeated professional boxing career to sign a three-year deal with PFL. The two-time Olympic gold medalist had been frustrated with her lack of opportunities as a boxer despite holding an 11-0 record and active titles in two divisions (she’s currently the undisputed champion at middleweight and light middleweight).