Three-division boxing champion Claressa Shields is set to make her MMA debut on Thursday, June 10, when she faces Brittney Elkin in a PFL fight from Atlantic City, which will air on ESPN+ and ESPN2.
Shields (11-0, 2 KO in boxing) should be the favorite here, at least on paper. While it’s Claressa’s MMA debut and MMA is a totally different sport from boxing and vice versa, PFL made a splash when they signed Shields, and you’d expect them to want that relationship to go well beyond hyping one fight.
Elkin is an MMA veteran with a 3-6 record, having turned pro in 2014. She hasn’t fought since 2019, and has lost three straight fights, her last W coming in 2016. On paper, she’s being served up as “the opponent,” but we’ve seen companies in combat sports miscalculate these things, too. Though it was a more dangerous matchup than this one seems to be, BKFC were certainly not looking for Paige VanZant to lose to Britain Hart, but it happened.
“Everybody wants the knockout, everyone wants the stoppages, but for me, I just really want the experience,” Shields told TMZ. “I want to get in there and get out as quick as possible, I’m fine with that. But if I have to go 15 minutes and have an all-out war with Brittney Elkin, I’m fine with that.”
Shields also said that she hadn’t planned to do any of her customary trash-talking for this fight — feeling that with it being her first MMA fight, she doesn’t have the right — but that Elkin has pressed her buttons a bit.
“I saw an interview where Brittney Elkin said she wants to make me a 15-second highlight reel. Like she wants to go in there and knock me out in 15 seconds. And, I was just thinking to myself, ‘Bitch in your dreams. In your wildest dreams.’”