New York Yankees Recap: Yankees win over KC with a Luke Voit walk-off win

New York Yankees, Yankees, NYY, Luke Voit

The New York Yankees met up with the Kansas City Royals for game two of a 3 game set after losing to the Royals last night in a 6-5 game. It was a beautiful night for baseball in the Bronx. The game-time temperature was 74, and the game was started under sunny skies. The Yankees Michael King faced the Royals, Danny Duffy.

In the first inning, King faced Whit Merrifield hit to second, and the call on the field was safe, and on review, he was found to be out. Carlos Santana flew out to left. Salvatore Perez doubled to the left-field wall. Ryan O’Hearn hit a two-run homer to the right-field porch for a two-run lead in the first inning. Jorge Soler struck out to end the half, but the Royals went ahead 2-0. At the bottom, DJ LeMahieu against Danny Duffy, and he went down on strikes. Aaron Judge went down on strikes. Gary Sanchez flew out to shallow left for the final out of the inning. Kansas City Royals 2 New York Yankees 0.

Kevin Gutierrez led off the second by flying out to center to Aaron Judge. Hunter Dozier ripped one to left, which Andujar caught. Michael Taylor lined out directly to Urshela at third for the 1-2-3 inning for King. The bottom was led off by Giancarlo Stanton, who worked a walk on six pitches. Luke Voit, who homered last night, struck out. Gleyber Torres, who was in a terrible slump, walked for the second walk of the inning. Miguel Andujar, with two on and one out, flew out to left field. Clint Frazier, who now has the worst batting average on the team, also walked to load the bases with the Yankees. Rougie Odor struck out, leaving the bases loaded as the Yankees have done so many times this season. Royals 2 Yankees 0.

Nicky Lopez led off the third inning by swinging out. Merrifield chopped to short for the second out of the inning. Santana hit on a bouncing ball to Andujar, who held it at a singer. Perez struck out to end the half. At the bottom, it was the top of the lineup for the Yankees. LeMahieu faced the second Royals pitcher Kyle Zimmer, and the bounced past short for a single. Aaron Judge flew out to right. Gary Sanchez ended the inning but hitting into a double play. Royals 2 Yankees 0.

O’Hearn led off the fourth and struck out swinging. Soler ground out. Gutierrez struck out to end the half. The Yankees Stanton walked for the second time in the game. Voit struck out. Andujar flew out to center. Torres walked for the second walk in the inning. Frazier hit a two-run double to the center-field wall to knot up the game at two apiece. Odor walked for the third walk of the inning. LeMahieu, with two on and two outs, flew out to center, but the Yankees tied up the game. New York Yankees 2 Kansas City Royals 2.

Taylor led off the fifth inning by struck out swinging. Lopez walked. Merrifield flew out to Judge in center for the second out. Lopez took second on a wild pitch. Santana was intentionally walked. Sebastian Rivero was hit by a pitch, and that was the night for King. He was replaced by Chad Green, who faced O’Hearn, who flew out to leave the bases loaded with Royals. At the bottom, Judge struck out on another low call. Sanchez grounded out to short. Stanton flew out on the eleven pitch at-bat. Yankees 2 Royals 2.

Jorge Soler led off the sixth against Chat Green and flew out to Andujar in left. Gutierrez flew out to Frazier in right. Dozier went down looking for a 1-2-3 inning for Green. At the bottom, Luke Voit led off for the Yankees, and facing Josh Staumont; he ground out to short. Torres struck out swinging. Andujar got a base hit to left past the third baseman. Frazier flew out to the warning track in right to end the inning. Yankees 2 Royals 2.

Michael Taylor led off the top of the seventh inning and flew out to Judge in center. Nicky Lopez ground out to short. Merrifield popped out to Voit in foul territory as Green put down all seven hitters he faced. After the stretch, Rougie Odor flew out to left field. LeMahieu worked a walk. With the new pitcher Scott Barlow on the mound, Aaron Judge struck out swinging. Gary Sanchez walked. Stanton walked for their ninth walk in the game. Luke Voit at the plate struck out, and the Yankees left the bases loaded again. Yankees 2 Royals 2.

The top of the eighth saw Carlos Santana at the plate against the new Yankee pitcher Zack Britton. Santana hit one into the left-field bleachers for the Royals lead in the game.  Rivero, still looking for his first major league hit, struck out. O’Hearn struck out. Soler doubled over the head of Judge in center. Gutierrez chopped out to short, but the Royals took the lead in the game. At the bottom, Torres against Jake Brentz, he walked. Andujar hit into a double play with Torres tagged running the bases. Frazier walked. Odor hit a two-run home run into the bullpen in left field as the New York Yankee took the lead in the game. LeMahieu ground out to third for the final out of the inning. New York Yankees 4 the Kansas City Royals 3.

Aroldis Chapman on the mound for the Yankees faced Dozier, who struck out on a Chapman slider. Taylor hit past the diving Torres for a single. Hanser Alberto pinch-hitting struck out. Merrifield singled to Judge in right as Taylor took third. Santana was intentionally walked. Chapman faced the rookie Rivero who walked the game tied.  O’Hearn rolled to third, and the Royals scored for the lead in the game in the ninth inning. With the bases still loaded, Dyson grounded out to second, but the Royals took the lead in the game 5-4.

At the bottom of the ninth, with the New York Yankees behind by one run, Aaron Judge took to the plate against Royal’s closer Greg Holland and struck out for an 0 for 5 on the night. Gary Sanchez, who was 0 for 3 on the night, hit a huge home run into the left-field stands to tie up the game at 5. Giancarlo Stanton singled to right. Tyler Wade pinch ran for Stanton. Wade took second on a wild pitch. Luke Voit hit one to the left-field wall as Wade scored for the Yankees win of the game.

The final score was New York Yankees 6 and the Kansas City Royals 5. The winning pitcher was Aroldis Chapman, who blew the save, and the loser was Greg Holland.

 

Tylor Megill impresses in MLB debut as Mets defeat Braves

The New York Mets defeated the Atlanta Braves Wednesday night, winning 7-3. The win pushes the team to 38-31 on the season, 4 games ahead of the Nationals for first place in the NL East.

Before the game, the activation of Michael Conforto off of the injured list earned some headlines, and rightfully so. The 28-year old outfielder is a key factor in the Mets’ playoff hopes. So, having him back, along with Jeff McNeil, is huge for the team.

Conforto and McNeil helped get the offense going early as the Mets scored 5 quick runs through the first two innings. McNeil drove in a run on a single and went 3-5 overall. Michael Conforto reasserted himself quickly, ripping a double down the right-field line in his first at-bat since May 16 and scoring two runs

Francisco Lindor had the big blow, blasting a two-run homer to extend the lead to five, his ninth of the year. That would be all the Mets needed, but not all they got.

However, along with Conforto and McNeil returning, the team endured some blows to the pitching staff. Robert Gsellman was moved to the 60-day IL, Marcus Stroman is day-to-day with hip discomfort and Joey Luchessi needs Tommy John surgery.

As a result, the Mets turned to Tylor Megill for his Major League debut.

Megill wasn’t overly dominant by any means, but pitched well enough for the Mets to earn the win against a division opponent. The 25-year old pitched 4.1 innings and struck out four while allowing two runs in his debut.

Other than the home run he gave up to Ender Inciarte in the fifth inning, he seemed in control for the most part.

Of course, the Mets victory didn’t come without some anxiety. Miguel Castro, who relieved Megill in the fifth, quickly loaded the bases, but he didn’t fold. Castro, who has had some great moments, and some not-so-great ones so far this season, escaped possibly detrimental damage in his short relief outing.

Behind him, Corey Oswalt pitched a fantastic 2.1 innings of relief and Edwin Diaz secured his second five-out save, 16th overall. The outing from the entire pitching staff was a great sight as injuries have begun to pile up even more.

The New York Mets will have their final off-day before the All-Star break tomorrow, followed by 17 straight days with a game. They will look to use this win to start a nice stretch over the next few weeks.

New York Giants: New footage shows off Saquon Barkley’s recovery

Saquon Barkley

The prediction all offseason has been that New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley will be back week one, and it looks like that’s on track. It’s been a while since we’ve gotten to see some hard evidence of Barkley’s progress, but a new video from his Instagram page gives new insight on how his recovery process is going.

In this video, we see Barkley making cuts and running on both grass and sand as well as navigating in tight spaces. Since this is the first time in a while we’ve gotten such an update, it should be encouraging to anyone that’s wondering if Barkley will make it back in time for the season.

All the reports about Barkley’s recovery since his ACL tear last season have been positive, but despite that, the Giants have taken up an official stance of not rushing back his return. It’s probably for the best, given his importance to the offense, but the team’s stance has largely made it unclear when Barkley is actually set to return.

While week one is the target date, multiple figures associated with the Giants have said that the decision will be up to the team doctors and that there’s no definitive date on Barkley’s return.

The Giants seemingly spent on backup running back Devontae Booker this offseason as well as taking a gamble on former NFC East rival Corey Clement to prepare themselves for a scenario where Barkley isn’t at full strength coming into the season.

But based on what we’re seeing from Barkley right now, there might not be a need for those players to feature in a big way in week one.

Knicks: Luca Vildoza to be tested vs Team USA in Las Vegas camp

luca vildoza, knicks

The New York Knicks will have their first look at Luca Vildoza against NBA competition since his signing when Argentina plays Team USA in Las Vegas in an exhibition match next month.

Vildoza will join Denver Nuggets’ rookie guard Facundo Campazzo in Argentina’s backcourt. The Knicks will have the chance to see him go up against a star-laden Team USA’s backcourt led by Portland’s superstar Damian Lillard. Joining Lillard in Team USA’s backcourt are Devin Booker (Phoenix), Bradley Beal (Washington), Zach LaVine (Chicago), and Jrue Holiday (Milwaukee).

Fourth-ranked Argentina is scheduled to play the world’s no.1 Team USA on July 13 (3 pm PDT) at MGM’s Michelob Ultra Arena. Tickets to the game are selling for as low as $62 to as high as $120. You can buy your ticket here.

The exhibition match is part of Argentina’s three-week training camp before flying to Tokyo. The national teams of Nigeria, Australia, and Spain will also see action in the five-day event in Las Vegas.

Vildoza will leave New York on Sunday to join Argentina’s national team, according to his camp. The 25-yeard old Argentinian guard had been working out with the Knicks since his arrival last month. His camp also revealed that three more Knicks players joined him in his final week before leaving for Las Vegas.

Vildoza signed a four-year $13.6 million deal to join the Knicks this season with the next three years non-guaranteed. The Knicks will have the chance to evaluate him further in the Olympics, the Summer League, and the training camp before committing to a full guarantee next season.

Games against Australia (July 10, 8:30 pm PDT) and Nigeria (July 12, 1:30 pm PDT) will serve as Vildoza’s warmup before the much-awaited showdown against Team USA.

Australia also features a backcourt of NBA veteran Patty Mills (San Antonio) and Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland). Nigeria, coached by Mike Brown, is no slouch either, with several NBA players in their lineup that includes Campazzo’s teammate Monte Morris, OG Anonuby (Toronto), Josh Okogie (Minnesota), Precious Achiuwa (Miami), Al-Farouq Aminu (Chicago), Jahlil Okafor (Detroit), and Jordan Nwora (Milwaukee).

Argentina is bracketed with Spain, Japan, and the winner of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Kaunas, Lithuania, where Dallas’ young star Luka Doncic will attempt to lead Slovenia to their first-ever Olympics appearance.

In the event Argentina will play for the gold medal, Vildoza will have a tight turnaround time between the Olympics and the NBA Summer League.

The Olympics gold medal match will be played on Aug. 6, while the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is penciled to start on Aug. 8.

Two more other Knicks players — RJ Barrett (Canada) and restricted free agent Frank Ntilikina (France) — will also see action in the Olympics.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Mets Game Preview: (6/23/21) vs. Atlanta Braves (35-37)

The New York Mets and Atlanta Braves play the final game of their four-game series as the Mets search for a split. Braves pitching has done a terrific job of shutting down the Mets’ offense, throwing 17 consecutive scoreless innings. The final matchup of the series is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

In last night’s game, the injury bug struck Marcus Stroman, which forced him to leave with a left hip issue. Luckily, Stroman’s MRI came back clean, and he should avoid the injured list. As of 5:15 p.m., they have not released their lineup, but they expect Michael Conforto to rejoin them tonight. Conforto has been on the sidelines since May 16 and is a massive boost to the struggling Mets offense.

The Braves offense has not been anything special series, but they have played just like the Mets all year. They found ways to score just enough to win, and it earned them two victories. Will Smith and A.J. Minter both pitched in back-to-back days and are unlikely to take the mound today. Chris Martin or Tyler Matzek are likely to take over the late innings if the Braves have a lead tonight.

Pitching Matchups

Tylor Megill is making his MLB debut a lot sooner than the Mets had hoped. Multiple injuries to their starting rotation have forced the Mets to test the depth of their minor league system. Megill is the 21st ranked prospect in the Mets farm system and has only pitched 14.1 innings at Triple-A. Overall between Double-A and Triple-A, he has a 3.35 ERA with a very impressive 13.2 K/9.

Kyle Wright gets the call from the minors to make his second start of the season and first since April 16. Wright is taking the spot of Max Fried, who is on the 10-day IL with a blister on his left index finger. In his only start of the season, Wright pitched 4.1 innings, allowing two runs and striking out five against the Chicago Cubs.

Matchups To Lookout For

Kyle Wright vs. Jeff McNeil: 4-for-7 (.571), 2 Doubles

Kyle Wright vs. Dominic Smith: 3-for-6 (.500), Home Run, Walk

UFC attempted to make Luke Rockhold – Khamzat Chimaev; Chimaev declined the fight

Luke Rockhold

Today we learned that the UFC was trying to book a major main event for August. Per Ariel Helwani, the promotion was trying to book a middleweight main event between former champion Luke Rockhold (16-5) and Khamzat Chimaev (9-0).

The main event would have taken place at a UFC Fight Night on August 28th. Rockhold confirmed the news with Helwani and also said that the promotion offered the two a three-round fight at UFC 265.

According to the former UFC middleweight champion, Khamzat Chimaev declined both fights while Rockhold accepted both. Rockhold has been looking to book his return and he saw a fight with Chimaev as a way to get his name back out there in a big way.

Khamzat Chimaev is also looking to book his return after missing the last year due to complications from COVID-19. The UFC has been meeting with Chimaev about his return and they are working on fights for him now.

The fight with Rockhold fell through due to Chimaev’s desire to fight at 170 pounds. So far in three fights, two fights have been at middleweight and one has been at welterweight for Chimaev. However, Chimaev has made it known to UFC officials that he plans on staying at 170.

What does the UFC do?

For now, the promotion will go right back to work on booking these two a fight. Rockhold has told the UFC that he wants a top name at 185 pounds. In recent interviews, Rockhold has said that he’s accepted multiple fights, but nothing has materialized.

There are some middleweight contests coming up and I wouldn’t be shocked to see Rockhold get booked soon. He’s hoping to fight by the end of the summer and I think the UFC will find him a good opponent for his return.

Khamzat Chimaev took off in 2020 and was a potential win over Leon Edwards in December away from earning himself a quick UFC title shot. However, COVID cancelled his fight with Edwards and we haven’t seen Chimaev since. The word is that a fight for Chimaev is close to coming together and I would expect a top fifteen welterweight.

Yankees: DJ LeMahieu is quietly turning his season around

The New York Yankees haven’t had their best offensive season so far, and that’s not a secret to anyone. Several stars have struggled to get anything going at the plate, including DJ LeMahieu. The second baseman, who was re-signed on a six-year, $90 million deal in the offseason, is currently hitting .263/.338/.365 with a 98 wRC+, basically average offensive performance.

However, we know he is capable of more. He was the batting champion last year with a .364 average, and hit 10 homers in a 60-game season. This campaign, he only has six dingers and we are about to hit the halfway point.

His performance so far has been disappointing, but the Yankees know what kind of hitter they have in LeMahieu, and as a matter of fact, he is trending up as we speak.

Since June 10, the Yankees’ regular leadoff hitter is batting .326/.383/.605, with a 170 wRC+ (70 percent better than his peers, which is absolutely fantastic), three doubles, and three of his six home runs, all that in 47 plate appearances.

The Yankees are pleased with his recent performance

It’s a very small sample, for sure, but time could have been all LeMahieu needed to establish a rhythm in the batter’s box and start producing the numbers that Yankees fans have grown accustomed to.

It remains to be seen if LeMahieu can maintain such a high level of offensive performance, but recent history, namely his two dominant seasons in 2019 and 2020 with the Yankees, backs him up.

Over that timeframe, his isolated power is .279, which is more than healthy since he has been struggling to consistently lift the ball all season. His BB% is 8.5 during his recent hot stretch, and he is striking out in just 4.3 percent of his plate appearances.

We would like to see him extend this excellent performance for a little longer before officially proclaim that he is back, but the Yankees are surely enjoying the surge, one that was long overdue.

Is DJ LeMahieu officially back?

Yankees: What would it take to lure Starling Marte out of Miami?

New York Mets interested in trading for Starling Marte.

The New York Yankees could really use a center fielder. Ever since Aaron Hicks went down with a wrist injury, the position has been problematic for the Bombers, who have had to field Aaron Judge there because the best fit there, Brett Gardner, is slashing .206/.311/.316.

That is why the Yankees have been connected to the two Martes, Ketel and Starling, from the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Miami Marlins, respectively.

Marte, who is currently 32, will be a free agent after the season, and while he has voiced his interest to remain in Florida, the Marlins rarely commit to aging, pricey free agents. The team is still undecided about which path they will take this year, as they enter Wednesday in the last place of the NL East division.

What could the Yankees give to Miami?

If Miami decides to make Marte available, teams know he will be a rental. The Yankees could be very interested, but at what price?

Here is what the Miami Herald had to report on Wednesday (per NJ Advance Media):

“We’re told the Marlins would be comfortable with a two-year deal, perhaps for something in the $30 million range. But if Marte wants something in the range of three years and $40 million or four years and $50 million, the expectation is that the Marlins would walk away. … If the Marlins determine by July 30 that they won’t be able to agree on a new deal and if they’re not in realistic contention for a wild-card berth, they likely will explore trading their best hitter. Miami probably could command a front-line prospect in return.”

While the Yankees do have front-line prospects they could potentially offer, it’s doubtful they will do it for a rental.

Even if the Yankees do commit to Marte long-term, they would have questions, mostly surrounding his advanced age.

Marte is a two-time Gold Glove winner, hitting .321 this season with five home runs and 16 RBI this season.

Will the Yankees be willing to include a prospect such as Oswald Peraza, or Yohendrys Gomez, for Marte? Should they?

New York Yankee Profiles: Luke Voit, can he be impactful in the race to 28?

New York Yankees, Yankees, Luke voit

Luke Voit is a 30-year-old first baseman for the New York Yankees. Luke has had a relatively unremarkable baseball career, but how he got to the Yankees and what he has done while here, is an interesting story. See how he got to be one of the most valuable Yankee players.

Luke was born in Wildwood, Missouri, and attended Lafayette High School there. In high school, he played football as a fullback and middle linebacker. He also played baseball where he got a lot of experience. In his first three years, he played first base and third base. Interestingly in his senior year, he played catcher. Shoulder injuries while in high school ended any career he may have had in football.

After his senior year at Lafayette, he was selected in the 22nd round of the 2013 MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cards. He made his professional debut with the State College Spikes of class A, New York/Penn League. That year he batted .242 with 2 home runs and 16 RBI’s in 46 games played.

Throughout his minor league career, he was always on the edge of being good. In June of 2017, the Cards promoted him to the bigs. In July of 2017, In his very first at-bat, he was plunked in the back. After 114 at-bats he hit his first home run. He ended the season with a batting average of .246 with four home runs and 18 RBI’s, still unremarkable but good enough to be used in a trade by the Cards to get players they needed.

In July of 2018, the Cards traded Luke Voit to the New York Yankees along with bonus pool money so they could get pitcher Chasen Shrive and Giovanny Gallegos. The Yanks assigned him to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. The Yanks swiftly promoted him to the majors, in part to play first, in the absence of Greg Bird, but after batting .188 in five games they demoted him back to Scranton. After playing better in the minors and with the injury to Didi Gregorius he was again called up to the Stadium. This time something happened, he seemed to embrace the limelight and energy of New York.

Playing for Greg Bird, he soon had hit ten home runs, and after hitting .458, he was named MLB player of the week on October 1, 2018. He ended the season hitting .333 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI’s in just 39 games. In the 2018 Wild Card game, he hit a two-run triple to help the Yankees win 7-2. That triple seemed to have given Luke a place as a Yankee favorite.

During spring training 2119, he with Bird back playing, was in a competition for playing first base when the season started. Since then with Bird back on the IL, and his play at 1st, and better hitting than Bird, it was almost solidified that he will be our 1st baseman. On April 29, 2019, he was named AL Player of the Week hitting .433 with 13 hits, 4 home runs, and 10 RBI’s in the previous week. It appeared that found his place with the Yankees and the Yankee fans.

However, Voit didn’t escape the injury plague that hit the team in 2019. An abdominal injury right around the London series sidelined him, and continued to be problematic upon Voit’s return, and eventually required surgery once the Yankees were eliminated from the playoffs. Voit was dreadful after getting hurt, but I think his performance pre-injury gets overlooked easily. Voit in 2019 was out for two stints. That injury caused him to play in only 118 games.

Before his season was derailed he led the New York Yankees, he led the team in home runs and was having a better season than Miguel Torres or DJ LeMahieu. At the plate, he seldom wasted an at-bat. He doesn’t swing at bad pitches.

Luke Voit should be the 1st base starter for the Yankees. Voit is just too good as a hitter to be relegated to being a part-time player. Even in a short season, Mike Ford will be used at first to rest Voit. If Voit can remain healthy, which there is no reason to assume otherwise, and can start off 2020 as he did in 2019, he could equal all of last year in just 60 games. He did more than that.

During the offseason along with staying in shape, Voit wrote a children’s book. “Luke’s Baseball Story.” It’s a book about his baseball life as a child and today. Luke said the original intent was to take the book and read it to kids’ classes in the Bronx. That plan fell through when the coronavirus pandemic made that impossible. He remembered when he met a famous athlete as a kid, he was overwhelmed and wanted the kids to experience that, as he taught them about hard work to made their dreams come true.

Fast forward to the bizarre 2020 baseball season. Luke, played well in spring training and summer camp. When the shortened season started Voit got his first hit in the last game of the Washington Nationals series, and it was a home run. Little did the New York Yankees know at the time that that hit would start a season for Luke Voit that just might make him last year’s Yankees MVP. At the beginning of the season, it was assumed that Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge would have the most significant impact on the Yankees. As it turns out neither of them could stay healthy enough to stay on the field. Voit remained mostly healthy and had his best play in his three years with the Yankees. It was thought that he might be the Yankees MVP, but that award went to DJ LeMahieu who was baseball’s batting champ. Voit was the home run leader in the shortened 2020 season for all of baseball, hitting 22 big ones.

Early on in spring training, Voit was dealing with knee soreness. In a spring training game, he hit a not-so-deep fly ball to left and aggressively slid hard into third base, further aggravating the sore knee. Near the end of spring training, it was decided that he would need surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus. That surgery kept him from starting with the team and caused him to be away from the team until mid-May. After only twelve days back he strained an oblique muscle and didn’t return to the team until last night. In his first game back he hit the first ball he saw 423′ into the left-field stands. He also tripled and walked. His return to the team is one of the most positive events looking forward as the Yankees hope to make the postseason. They will look to Voit’s contributions to make that happen.

Luke Voit, during August of 2019, married his longtime sweetheart Victoria Rigman. They both attended the same school; Lafayette High School. Interestingly, Luke was on the baseball team, and Tori was a cheerleader for the school team. Luke has a younger brother John, who played defensive tackle with the Army Black Knights football team. Luke works out regularly and continues to challenge himself to be the best he can be.

PFL: Claressa Shields second fight date is set

Arguably the greatest female boxer of all time has her second date under the PFL banner. The ‘GWOAT’ Claressa Shields (1-0) will be competing in her second professional MMA contest on August 27th.

The news was first reported yesterday by Ariel Helwani who confirmed with PFL officials. August 27th will also play host to the women’s lightweight playoffs. We will likely see fellow Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison on the same card as Shields.

At this time, PFL has not announced who Shields will be taking on in August. She made her professional mixed martial arts debut a couple of weeks ago at PFL 4 and she’s looking to get right back in there.

While Shields has said that she will continue to box along with competing in MMA, she’s not going back to boxing just yet. Based on the performance at PFL 4, I think Shields realizes that there is a lot of work to be done in the cage.

Expectations for Shields’ next PFL Fight

In her first fight at PFL 4, Shields took on Brittney Elkin (3-7), Elkin didn’t have the prettiest record, but she was a jiu jitsu brown belt and she was bigger that Shields. In the first two rounds, it was very clear that Shields was inexperienced on the ground.

Elkin was able to get dominant positions in both of the first two rounds. You could tell how dangerous Shields is with her hands by watching their brief striking exchanges, but that was washed out by her inexperience on the ground.

However, in the third round at PFL 4, Shields was able to rock Elkin bad on the feet. She sprawled well in defending a takedown and got top position. Once there, she rained down massive shots and picked up the come from behind TKO win in her MMA debut.

It was a great moment for Shields and it was a big learning opportunity. In my opinion, I think PFL is going to give her potentially someone even easier for her second fight. The promotion is betting big on Shields and she was dangerously close to losing her first fight.

If I was thinking about this from a business perspective, I would book her against someone she’s likely to have a highlight reel knockout against. Give her a ton of confidence while she continues to build her skills. I’ll be very interested to see how PFL books her.