PFL’s mistake with Claressa Shields

PFL made huge waves last year when they signed Claressa Shields (1-1 MMA) to an exclusive contract for MMA. Shields is a two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in boxing and she’s won a number of world titles in her professional boxing career.

The 26 year old Shields wanted to challenge herself and she decided that she wanted to become a two-sport world champion. She had already climbed to the top of boxing and now she wanted to do the same in MMA.

PFL jumped at the opportunity and signed Shields to a deal at the end of last year. Shields wasn’t going to compete in the 2021 season, but she was going to compete and fight a couple of times. PFL gave her two fights this year.

The first matchup was against Brittney Elkin (3-7) back in June. Now, you’d think a 3-6 fighter at the time would be a good first step for Shields. However, it wasn’t a great decision when you factor in the kind of fighter that Elkin was.

Elkin was known for her skills on the mat and mostly dominated the first couple of rounds against Shields in the boxer’s first MMA fight. However, in the third round, Shields was able to defend the takedown and got a TKO win at PFL 4.

PFL’s Mistake

After her first win, PFL got to work on booking Shields’ second fight. Her second fight took place last night against Abigail Montes (2-0). Montes was making her debut with PFL but she walked in with a perfect record. In her two fights, she had shown really good wrestling and ground control.

The first round of last night’s matchup was pretty uneventful. Shields landed some decent shots, but Montes spent the majority of the round leaning Shields up against the cage trying to get a takedown. The next two rounds didn’t go well for Shields.

While the second round was mostly competitive, a takedown and good amount of control sealed the round for Montes. The third round was dominated by Montes who landed a takedown and finished the round in mount while raining down punches.

One judge somehow scored the fight for Shields, but the other two got it right and Montes picked up the win handing Claressa Shields her first professional loss in combat sports. With the loss, you have to think about the missed opportunity PFL had with Shields.

Both fighters that they gave her to start her MMA career were more grappling-first type of fighters. I don’t understand the logic behind the decision. If you wanted Shields to blossom into a star, you give her someone that will strike with her so she can show off her talent.

Eventually, she will have to face a grappler, but rushing her in against grapplers right away just is a massive miscalculation in my opinion. Shields is young enough and talented enough to overcome this and retrieve some of her mystique. However, after these first two performances, the luster is mostly gone for ‘The GWOAT’ in MMA and it’s not on her.

PFL books Claressa Shields – Abigail Montes

The greatest female boxer in the world has her next PFL fight set. Today, the promotion announced that Claressa Shields (1-0) will be returning to the cage this fall. Shields will be taking on Abigail Montes (2-0) in her next matchup.

The two ladies will square off at the PFL Championship event that is scheduled for Wednesday, October 27th. Shields will be making her second appearance for PFL and she’s hoping for an easier outing this time around.

That said, she’s not getting an easy fight in her next matchup. Abigail Montes is very young in her career just like Shields is. Montes just competed in her second professional MMA fight back in April when she got a TKO victory.

This will be her first fight with PFL. In her two wins thus far, Montes has shown good ground skills and some pretty decent kickboxing. Granted, competition needs to be taken into consideration here.

Second PFL appearance for ‘The GWOAT’

When Shields makes the walk on October 27th, it will be her third combat sports event of the year in 2021. Back in March, Shields defeated Mare Eve Dicaire by unanimous decision to win another world title in boxing.

After that victory, Shields shifted her focus towards her MMA debut with PFL. Shields made her debut back in June when she took on Brittney Elkin. Elkin entered the contest at just 3-6 professionally. However, Elkin was big and she had a jiu jitsu brown belt.

The first two rounds really showed Shields’ inexperience. While Shields had a couple of moments of success on the feet, Elkin was able to get the fight to the ground and control her at PFL 4.

In the third round, Shields was going to need a finish and that’s what she got. After hurting Elkin on the feet, Shields was able to stuff a takedown and she ended up on top. Once on top, Shields rained down punches and elbows to get the finish.

You have to imagine that Shields has been continuously working on her ground skills and takedown defense leading into this next PFL matchup. If she can keep a fight standing, there’s virtually no woman in the world that can beat her. However, she’s got her work cut out for her in terms of keeping it standing.