Claressa Shields answered some questions with her victorious PFL 4 debut Thursday night against veteran Brittney Elkin.
First let’s acknowledge the obvious: It was one fight against an older struggling opponent with three wins in nine bouts.
Still, Shields (1-0-0) showed off some crisp and powerful striking. Elkin’s (3-7-0) response was to wisely drop levels and use the takedown, which worked for long stretches of the first two rounds.
By the way, Elkin must be kicking herself as Shields gifted her at least two takedowns and had her in full mount at least twice, but was unable to even land any significant damage, much less finish Flint, Michigan’s favourite daughter.
At this level, you have to be better than that.
Conversely, Shields did not panic on the ground and she almost stole the second round. Powering out of Elkin’s armbar was something and her cardio held up to allow her to go after Elkin in the final round. All good things.
The takedown defence and ground game of Shields obviously need continued work. She cannot afford to get taken down that easily and early against stiffer competition. Greg Jackson and the Albuquerque team should see to that.
The determination of Shields was evident throughout the bout. You can’t teach heart.
And the way Shields put her takedown defence and ground game together in the final round was impressive. It was symbolic moment of what it could be in the future.
One thing is undisputed. It’s going to be fun to watch Shields figure out the game of mixed martial arts.
Buckle up. It should be a long ride.