Claressa Shields tastes defeat for the first time in her career while Kayla Harrison, Ray Cooper triumph in million-dollar bouts

Claressa Shields tastes defeat for the first time in her career while Kayla Harrison, Ray Cooper triumph in million-dollar bouts

Shields suffered her first-ever pro combat sports defeat at Wednesday’s PFL event.

By John Balfe - 28 Oct 2021

Two-time Olympic gold medalist and world title holder Claressa Shields isn’t accustomed to the concept of defeat but that’s exactly what happened at Wednesday night’s PFL event. 

Shields, fighting in her second-ever MMA bout after a June come-from-behind win against Brittney Elkin, was defeated on the scorecards by split decision by Abigail Montes in the latest step in her mixed martial arts apprenticeship in a fight in which her stand-up skills occasionally shone (particularly her jab) but Montes was declared the winner after finding repeated success with takedowns and ground and pound.

The defeat moves the top-ranked boxer to 1-1 in her still developing MMA career, and with Shields having one more fight left on her PFA deal it leaves her in the position to focus on improving her grappling deficiencies before her third fight which is expected to come sometime in the first quarter of 2022. She is scheduled to defend her WBA, WBC, IBF middleweight titles against Slovenia’s Ema Kozin in December.

Elsewhere on a card in which six million dollar awards were handed out at the PFL’s season finale, with Kayla Harrison earning her second straight cheque after easing past Taylor Guardado, forcing a third-round tap by armbar submission.

“I just feel way more grateful [than last season],” Harrison said. “A lot more gratitude. I realized that nothing in this world is given. You have to earn it all. And I’m very blessed and very lucky that I work hard every day.”

Ray Cooper III was also successful in the welterweight co-main event, scoring a stunning one-punch KO against Magomed Magomedkerimov, a fighter who defeated him in the 2018 finals, and earning his own $1 million in the process.

For the full list of results, click here.

comments