The 2021 season of the Professional Fighters League (PFL) has already provided quite a number of massive upsets, with big names such as Anthony Pettis, Lance Palmer, and Fabricio Werdum getting unfavorable results.
When the second half of the season begins on Thursday, June 10th, the mixed martial arts (MMA) world could once again bear witness to a gigantic upset when three-division world champion and top pound-for-pound women’s boxer makes her debut in the sport against dangerous grappler Brittney Elkin.
Without a doubt, Shields is one of the biggest names in combat sports today. That’s why her signing with PFL in December 2020 became a massive story.
But while Shields is undoubtedly the bigger name heading into her fight with Elkin, she will be stepping into a whole new battlefield.
Elkin may not have the most impressive MMA record, but her experience inside the MMA cage definitely trumps that of Shields.
Indeed, Shields may be one of the best female strikers in the world–undefeated in 11 professional boxing bouts and undisputed title reigns in two weight divisions–but boxing and MMA are different as she likes to say, “Apples and oranges.”
To prepare for her MMA journey, Shields had enlisted the help of some of the best in the sport, namely UFC stars such as Jon Jones, Michelle Waterson, Holly Holm, and famed head coach Greg Jackson.
Shields may have tapped the best minds in MMA, but like any expert in the field would say, six months of training won’t be enough.
This is where Elkin can take advantage.
With Shields’ bread0and-butter obviously being her striking, Elkin could and should take the fight to the ground, where she will likely have the leverage in experience, skill, and technique.
“I don’t think it’s any secret. I’m very comfortable in jiu-jitsu and in wrestling. It’s what I’ve spent a lot of time on,” Elkin said in an interview with Heavy.com.
Elkin, a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, has three MMA wins and four submission grappling wins to her name, which should be a point of concern for Shields.
In addition, she has also shared the cage with the best in the division, having fought 2019 PFL women’s lightweight champion Kayla Harrison three years ago.
Elkin promises to inflict as much damage as she can against Shields.
“I’ll go for damage over submission. That’s just what I want. I want to hurt her,” Elkin stated.
“I’ll take the submission if it happens, but I envision that I’ll go for damage over submission. That’s just what I want. I want to hurt her so that she has a harder time recovering,” she continued.
At the end of the day, MMA is an unpredictable sport. As easy as Shields can knock Elkin out, so can the latter outgrapple and submit the former.
At PFL 4, Elkin could shock the world, and there’s a huge possibility that it could happen.
PFL 4 airs on Thursday, June 10th on ESPN+, beginning at 6:00 PM ET and on ESPN2 beginning at 10:00 PM ET.