PFL Newcastle: Savannah Marshall Makes Successful MMA Debut, Faces Off with Shields

Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall, PFL Newcastle promo
Claressa Shields and Savannah Marshall, Ceremonial Weigh-Ins during 2024 PFL EUROPE 2: Newcastle at Utilita Arena in Newcastle, England, Friday, June 7, 2024. (Jose Peñuela / PFL Europe 2)

Boxing champ Savannah Marshall made her mixed martial arts debut at PFL Newcastle on Saturday, and all things considered, the night couldn’t have gone better.

Paired up with little known Brazilian talent Mirela Vargas, Marshall did what she needed to do, surviving a pair of takedowns that showed at the very least, she’d paid attention to her wrestling and grappling training, while absolutely dominating on the feet.

The WBA, WBC, IBF, WBO, and The Ring female super-middleweight champ frankly overwhelmed Vargas, whose takedowns had an air of desperation as the end drew nigh. The fight never made it out of the opening round, with Marshall landing lefts and rights as Vargas tried and failed to cover up, occasionally swatting back as if trying to shoo her opponent away.

Marshall would not be deterred however, and the ref had soon seen enough, waving off the fight and handing Savannah Marshall a standing TKO win.

“If I could I’d punch, Jesus. Look, I’ve only been doing this nine months. I’ve absolutely loved it,” Marshall said following the fight. “But these MMA fighters, you’ve got to be a little bit crazy to do it.”

Consider fellow boxer and rival Claressa Shields among the crazy ones then. Marshall specifically pursued Shields to MMA with the hope of landing a second fight with her, this time in the cage. And Shields was on hand for an impromptu face-off on Saturday, after Marshall closed out the night at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle. “That’s how you get off the floor, babe,” Marshall told Shields at one point, though the face-off was anything but tense with both athletes all smiles.

Where ever she fights next, Marshall suggested the promoter will need to get out the pocketbook. The PFL would be crazy, however, not to strike when the iron is hot, despite Shields having a few more fights in MMA.