Claressa Shields’ mixed martial arts career hit a major speed bump tonight, as she was beaten by Abigail Montes at the PFL Championship.
Montes won a split decision on two scores of 29-28 in her favor, and the third card a pretty ridiculous 29-28 for Shields.
Montes (3-0) lost the first round, but once she was able to get Shields (1-1 in MMA) on the ground in round two, she pretty clearly won that one, and she wound up dominating the third after another takedown, unloading on Shields in a full mount right up to the final bell.
Shields, who is 11-0 and a three-division champion in pro boxing as well as a two-time Olympic gold medalist, looked very much like a novice fighter again, and that’s fair, because it’s what she is. Her handle on anything beyond boxing is still at a pretty basic stage, and while they have attempted to give her favorable matchmaking, it just didn’t work out this time around. Montes was simply the better MMA fighter in the cage.
Though Shields did get one card — which is quite hard to figure, in all honesty — she pretty clearly seemed to know after the final bell that Montes deserved the win. But Shields took the loss with dignity in the cage, congratulating Montes, who just had a big moment with this win. Shields may indeed be a raw MMA fighter, but she’s got name value, and Abigail Montes will always be able to say she won a fight with Claressa Shields.
Shields is currently slated to return to boxing on December 11, when she’ll go to England to defend the WBC, WBA, and IBF middleweight titles against Ema Kozin, a card that will also feature old amateur rival Savannah Marshall defending the WBO middleweight title, with an eye on a Shields-Marshall fight for 2022.