Two-time Olympic gold medalist and championship boxer Claressa Shields will compete under MMA rules for the first time on Thursday night, facing Brittney Elkin in the main event of a PFL card from the Ocean Casino Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA.
The fight sits atop a nine-bout card that includes numerous regular-season contests for lightweight and featherweight fighters. In those fights, PFL competitors will have their last chance to earn points that could put them into the PFL playoffs later this year.
Follow along throughout the evening for live updates on the event.
Preliminary Card (7:00PM EDT) (ESPN+ / TSN GO)
Main Card (10:00PM EDT) (ESPN 2 / TSN 2)
Bout 9: Claressa Shields (0-0) vs. Brittney Elkin (3-6) (Lightweight)
Pro Boxer Shields Makes Comeback In Pro MMA Debut
Claressa Shields pulled off a comeback victory in her professional MMA debut, defeating Brittney Elkin in the third round of a bout with ground and pound.
The stoppage win came after two rounds that saw Shields in trouble on the ground, as Elkin was putting on a smothering performance.
Elkin was able to control the fight in the first two rounds with takedowns and positioning on the ground. She often moved into full mount, although she never did much with the position.
Shields was able to unload with punches in the third round while Elkin was holding on to one of her legs on the ground. Shields moved into half guard while keeping with the punches, eventually causing an end to the fight.
Shields entered the fight with a strong background in boxing. Along with championships and 11 wins as a pro, Shields is a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Shields looked strong when the fight was on the feet, briefly showcasing the boxing skills that have made her a big name in combat sports. Her cardio held up too despite moving from competing in two-minute boxing rounds to five-minute MMA rounds.
The fight was Elkin’s fourth consecutive loss as a pro.
Bout 8: Clay Collard (19-8) vs. Joilton Lutterbach (34-9) (Lightweight)
Collard Takes Second 2021 Win With Close Decision Over Lutterbach
Clay Collard wrapped up his 2021 PFL regular season with a second decision win, defeating Joilton Lutterbach in the co-main event of Thursday’s card (29-28 Collard, 29-28 Lutterbach & 29-28 Collard).
Lutterbach landed numerous takedowns in the fight, with official PFL statistics claiming he landed eight in total. While landing many takedowns, he didn’t do much in the position at times.
Collard was more active with strikes in the fight, throwing a high output when in stand-up exchanges.
Lutterbach looked for a darce choke early in the opening round. Despite Collard seemingly being locked in the choke at moments, he eventually escaped.
Collard was guaranteed a playoff spot before this fight even started, as a weight miss for Lutterbach guaranteed him three points and moved his season total to six points.
Collard scored a win in the main event of PFL’s first card this year, spoiling the promotional debut of former UFC fighter Anthony Pettis.
Lutterbach also lost his first fight in the season, losing on scorecards to Raush Manfio in April.
Bout 7: Bubba Jenkins (15-4) vs. Bobby Moffett (13-5) (Featherweight)
Jenkins Earns Second 2021 Win, Secures Playoff Spot
Strong takedowns and striking skills from Bubba Jenkins earned him his second win of the season, defeating Bobby Moffett via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 & 29-28).
The win gave Jenkins a cumulative six points in the PFL season, securing him a spot for the featherweight playoffs.
Moffett picked up some steam late in the bout, but it was Jenkins who took two of three rounds in the fight.
Jenkins, a former Brave CF Featherweight Champion, picked up a big win in his first fight of the season, defeating 2019 champ Lance Palmer via decision.
Moffett, a former UFC fighter, is now on a three-fight losing streak. His appearance on Thursday was his first PFL appearance.
Bout 6: Brendan Loughnane (20-3) vs. Tyler Diamond (12-1) (Featherweight)
Loughnane Makes Playoffs With Scrappy Win Over Diamond
Brendan Loughnane’s sharp striking and ability to compete with a wrestler earned him a majority decision win over Tyler Diamond, confirming him for the PFL playoffs (30-27, 29-27 & 28-28).
Loughnane had success early in the fight, but Diamond showed his toughness and made it a close brawl in the final minutes.
Loughnane was happy with how close the fight was.
“If I were to lose, I would go away a gracious loser,” said Loughnane in his post-fight interview.
Loughnane dropped Diamond early in the second round with punches. Loughnane continued with damage on the ground, scoring with punches from full guard later on.
Loughnane was also able to do damage to Diamond’s legs with numerous kicks during the fight.
Both fighters saw control as they struggled with great fatigue in the final round. Diamond was able to get some control time in the round, although Loughnane scored his own takedowns and put together hard strikes.
Loughnane now has nine points in the 2021 PFL season, clinching one of the four featherweight spots for him.
He scored a first-round stoppage win in his first fight of the season, stopping Sheymon Moraes within a round.
Diamond entered Thursday on a three-fight win streak, including a scorecard win against Jo Sungbin on a PFL show.
Bout 5: Natan Schulte (20-4-1) vs. Alexander Martinez (8-0) (Lightweight)
Two-Time PFL Champ Schulte Takes Close Win Over Martinez
Two-time PFL champ Natan Schulte scored his first win of the 2021 season to finish the prelims, taking a close split decision victory against Alexander Martinez (29-28 Martinez, 29-28 Schulte & 29-28 Schulte).
The fight was a battle of two styles, as Schulte succeeded with takedowns while Martinez scored with strikes in stand-up positions.
Schulte walked Martinez down, although it was Martinez who had the much sharper combinations of strikes while on the feet.
Schulte was able to take Martinez down many times, taking him to his knees while on his back. He did this the most in the final round, where he kept Martinez down for numerous minutes.
Schulte lost his first fight this season, dropping scorecards to Marcin Held in April. The fight was his first loss since PFL switched to a season format in 2018.
Martinez was coming back after defeating Loik Radzhabov in his PFL debut earlier this year.
Bout 4: Marcin Held (27-7) vs. Olivier Aubin-Mercier (11-5) (Lightweight)
Aubin-Mercier Gets Scorecard Nod In PFL Debut
Olivier Aubin-Mercier’s striking earned him a win in his PFL debut, defeating fellow former UFC fighter Marcin Held via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).
Aubin-Mercier scored a knockdown late in the opening round, dropping Held with an overhand right.
Aubin-Mercier continued to score with strong strikes in the fight, often connecting clean but not wobbling Held.
Held threatened Aubin-Mercier with a heel hook in the final round, although the attempt was avoided.
Held scored an upset win in his previous fight, defeating two-time PFL champ Natan Schulte in April.
Aubin-Mercier was fighting for the first time in nearly two years. He exited the UFC in 2019 after going on a three-fight losing streak.
Aubin-Mercier was set to make his PFL debut earlier this year against Joilton Lutterbach, although that plan was later changed.
Bout 3: Akhmed Aliev (20-6) vs. Loik Radzhabov (13-3-1) (Lightweight)
Radzhabov Earns Six Points With Damaging Punches To Aliev
Loik Radzhabov won in only seconds on the prelims, catching Akhmed Aliev in the opening minute with a series of punches that called an end to their bout.
Radzhabov hurt him early with a left hook and right cross. Aliev dropped to his knees after shooting for a takedown, getting hit with hammerfist punches on the way down.
Radzhabov landed a couple more punches to a shelled-up Aliev before the referee stopped the bout.
The win put Radzhabov back into the win column after losing a split decision against Alexander Martinez earlier this season.
Aliev was looking to come back after earning a decision win over Mikhail Odintsov in April.
Bout 2: Sheymon Moraes (11-5) vs. Jesse Stirn (11-4) (Featherweight)
Moraes Secures Quick Kimura Sub To End Losing Streak
Sheymon Moraes secured a submission in the closing moments of the second round against Jesse Stirn, catching him with a kimura. He was able to secure the submission just moments after Stirn landed a takedown.
Moraes looked for the submission while on his back, eventually exploding out and into top position for the tap.
Stirn had scored two takedowns earlier in the fight, using the chances to control the battle on the ground. Most of the second round was on the feet, where Moraes scored a knockdown with strikes earlier in the frame.
Stirn missed weight for the fight, coming in nearly a pound over the featherweight limit. Because of this, Moraes was guaranteed three points in the PFL standings despite the result in the fight. Since he scored a second-round victory, Moraes was given five points in total.
Moraes was originally set to face Movlid Khaybulaev on this card, although plans changed leading up to the event. Moraes lost his three previous fights as a pro, including a stoppage loss to Brendan Loughnane from April.
The fight was Stirn’s first in the PFL. He was entering the promotion after two fights in CFFC.
Bout 1: Chris Wade (18-6) vs. Arman Ospanov (11-3) (Featherweight)
Wade Scores Knee and Punch Combination For First Stoppage Win
Chris Wade scored the forst finish win with strikes in his lengthy pro career to open the prelims, catching Arman Ospanov with a combination of punches for a stoppage win.
Wade hurt Ospanov with a knee to the head, following up with two left hands that dropped him and put him unconscious.
Wade battled adversity earlier in the round, getting clipped by punches that Ospanov landed. Ospanov was able to score a knockdown early in the second round, dropping Wade with a right cross.
Wade won his first PFL fight of the season, defeating Anthony Dizy via decision in April. His win on Thursday concluded his 2021 regular season run with nine points in total, securing him a spot in the playoffs.
The fight on Thursday was Ospanov’s first in the PFL.