Following in the footsteps of Ronda Rousey and Kayla Harrison, another top American Olympic athlete is set to make her MMA debut. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields will step out of the ring and into the cage on June 10 at a Professional Fighters League (PFL) event, when she will face MMA, Fight to Win, and Subversiv veteran Brittney Elkin.
Simply put, Claressa Shields has been nothing short of dominant in her boxing career. In addition to the Olympic gold medals, she is 11-0 as a professional and has held world championships in three weight classes. She is widely considered the best active female boxer on the planet.
Shields’ move to the PFL follows the path of Kayla Harrison, a two-time Olympic judo gold medalist that made her MMA debut in the PFL, also against Elkin. Harrison defeated Elkin via first-round submission.
Brittney Elkin sports a 3-6 professional MMA record. Despite her losing record, though, Elkin’s experience in submission grappling could give problems to Shields, who will no-doubt be heavily favored in her MMA debut. In addition to frequent referee duties, Elkin has had over 20 matches with Fight to Win and has won much more than she’s lost. She has faced some of the best grapplers in the world, including Kendall Reusing and Elisabeth Clay.
Will Elkin play the spoiler for Shields’ MMA debut? The hype will certainly be behind Shields, and for good reason; she is one of the best female combat sports athletes on the planet. However, her background is entirely in boxing. If things hit the mat, Elkin will have a significant advantage in overall grappling and submissions and would be a real test for Shields’ budding ground game.