At PFL 4, Brittney Elkin (3-6) has the honor of rolling out the welcome mat for boxing champion Claressa Shields.
It’s a position Elkin has been in before. The jiu-jitsu brown belt also served as the welcome wagon for judo crossover star Kayla Harrison, falling to arm-bar within a round. That’s a little less likely against Shields, whose stand-up will no doubt be her strong suit.
Shields making the jump to MMA sees her following in the footsteps of boxers like Art Jimmerson, James Toney, and, more successfully, former UFC women’s bantamweight champ Holly Holm. During Monday’s PFL 4 media day, Elkin was queried as to whether she had reviewed the Randy Couture vs. James Toney and Holly Holm vs. Ronda Rousey fights.
“I have watched both of those fights. You want outcomes such as they both had, and I think both parties could say that,” responded Elkin, who noted that there’s “so much more ground to cover in MMA” than in boxing.
“Obviously hope that stylistically, mine prevails over boxing,” she added.
Toney didn’t last long against Randy Couture, losing his lone MMA bout in lopsided fashion. Holm, who trains with Jackson-Wink MMA, where Shields is also training, took a different approach, going all in on MMA and working her way towards a world championship.
It is Shields, in fact, who has had all the attention ahead of the fight. Something that suits Elkin just fine, it seems.
“I think it’s done me a great service. I got to stay away from all of you guys for eight weeks and work my ass off,” she stated, referencing the media. On the other hand, “hearing about Claressa has kind of been like grated cheese, and the block is getting really small, so I’m f*cking at my end and ready to fight. Maybe we’ll be friends after the fight, who f*cking knows.”
“It’s been grating at me, but also it’s been great because I’ve been in the gym religiously,” she continued. “I haven’t been in the forefront, I haven’t had to deal with all the media stuff.”
As to what she is expecting from the 11-0 boxer this Thursday night, “I plan to face an athlete. A prepared athlete,” Elkin told Cageside Press. “I am aware that she has hands, I’m aware of a lot of things that I’m prepared to do to her. If I can go anywhere, I’m keeping an open mind, and I also think that I can take the fight somewhere too. I’m prepared to do ground or stand-up, defense or offense also.”
Watch the full PFL 4 media day with Claressa Shields and Brittney Elkin above. PFL 4 takes place Thursday, June 10 in Atlantic City, NJ. The card airs live on ESPN+ and ESPN 2.