Claressa Shields is officially an MMA fighter following a successful PFL 4 debut against Brittney Elkin this past Thursday.
Inevitably, fans are expecting a clash of Olympic gold medals pitting Shields against the 9-0 Kayla Harrison. Currently looking to claim yet another PFL crown through the lightweight tournament, Harrison recently shared her thoughts on the boxing legend’s victory.
“I think that we all knew what her holes were gonna be, we all knew what she was going to struggle with,” Harrison told Mike Pendleton of MyMMANews. “I was surprised with the matchup initially because I know that Brittney [Elkin] has a grappling background, she was my first fight. I was surprised that [they] made her main event, it’s a lot of pressure in your first fight.
“Listen, this is not boxing, this is completely different. We all knew she was going to struggle with the grappling aspect of the sport, I think she did a good job staying composed. I think she overcame a lot of early stepbacks, she was able to go out there and do what winners do, and that’s find a way to win.”
Shields struggled on the ground in the first two rounds against Brittney Elkin but never went away. Instead, it was the opposite as Elkin slowed down after missing her armbar attempts and saw Shields survive her ground and pound.
A visibly tired 3-6 Elkin couldn’t keep up with Shields in the third and final round as she succumbed to strikes at the 1:44 mark.
“I’m impressed with her, I’m proud of her,” Kayla Harrison said. I think that the biggest struggle for her is going to be—in order to be as successful as she wants to be in MMA—she’s going to have to devote a lot of time to learning that side of the sport. She’s not going to be able to devote the time that it needs if she continues to box and do MMA at the same time. She’s only human. I applaud her for this and making the transition into MMA in the peak of her boxing career, I just think it’s going to be too hard to do both effectively.”
Harrison continued to say that she’s not “talking sh*t” about Shields. Adding that she thinks it will be interesting to see where Shields goes next and because of their paths has looked at herself as more of a mentor than a possible future opponent.
Harrison next faces Cindy Dandois in the main event of PFL 6 on June 25.