Flint's Claressa Shields, in second MMA fight, suffers first defeat since who knows when

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Claressa Shields has been called a lot of things in the trash-talking world of boxing and MMA.

One thing she had never been called, though, is a loser. That changed Wednesday night.

For the first time in her professional career — boxing or mixed martial arts — Shields, the Flint dynamo, suffered a loss in the ring, falling in a split decision to Abigail Montes after three rounds of their fight in Hollywood, Florida.

Flint's Claressa Shields lost her second MMA fight on Wednesday night via a spilt decision.

It was the second MMA fight for Shields since signing with the Professional Fighters League. She struggled early in her debut, but ultimately came out on top via TKO.

Bout No. 2, in the season-ending card for the PFL, was a tougher challenge.

Shields came out stronger, winning the first round according to all three judges, and in the end she landed as many punches as Montes (47 each). But she later found herself on the defensive, and on her back; Shields suffered two takedowns to Montes' one.

"It was always the ground stuff," Shields, 26, told ESPN after the fight. "Gotta get better at defending the takedown and stuff. The game plan was to just do better than my last fight. Of course to win, but do better.

"It continues to show us what we need to work on, and I worked damn hard in camp. I knew I would look better. It was the last round that did it for me.

"She went for the … takedown and I didn't respond quick enough."

Two judges scored it 29-28 for Montes (3-0), and one 29-28 for Shields (1-1), who hugged her opponent after the decision was announced, even smiling and making small talk — a far cry from her pre-fight routine, when she isn't shy about letting her opponents know what she plans to do to them.

The loss was a shock for Shields, who had a decorated amateur boxing career that included two gold medals in the Olympics, then turned pro and went 11-0.

Shields will put that unbeaten boxing record and multiple championship belts on the line Dec. 11 in England, against Ema Kozin, in a 160-pound bout. It'll be her second boxing bout of the year, having won in Flint in March against Marie-Eve Dicaire.

Her next MMA bout is TBD; she has two years left on her PFL contract, and has her sights set on the $1-million winner-take-all tournament in 2023.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984