HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – Claressa Shields’ striking is as good as they come in boxing, but that’s not the same story when it comes to MMA according to her next opponent, Abigail Montes.
The Mexican fighter takes on Shields on Oct. 27 in a lightweight fight at the 2021 PFL Championship in Hollywood, Fla. Montes (2-0) will be Shields’ second professional bout in MMA. The two-time Olympic boxing gold medalist and boxing world champion made a successful transition to MMA in June, defeating Brittney Elkin by third-round TKO.
Montes recognized Shields’ prestigious background from watching her MMA debut, but didn’t think Shields fully translated her boxing skills to the cage.
“I saw her debut – obviously, her boxing is top level and it’s explosive and strong, but there are many holes,” Montes told MMA Junkie in Spanish. “Translating boxing to MMA is completely different. Adapting that to MMA is difficult because you have patterns from your entire life and you can’t change that overnight. It takes time. I’m telling you, I saw a lot of holes that I can take advantage of and use to get my win.”
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Montes trains at Lobo Gym in Guadalajara, Mexico, alongside notable women’s MMA talents Alexa Grasso, Irene Aldana and Alejandra Lara. The bout with Shields is her first at 155 pounds. She fought at bantamweight and featherweight in her two professional bouts.
Coming from a gym that’s known for its striking, Montes is not just going to look to take the fight to the ground given Shields’ prestigious background. The unbeaten prospect is more than willing to exchange with the boxing world champion.
“I’m not afraid,” Montes said. “I don’t have to go in there and have to get the takedown. I’m going to take the fight how it presents itself. It’s MMA – I need to be prepared to fight in any area : top or bottom, jiu-jitsu or wrestling.
“I come from a team that has pure boxing like Alexa Grasso, who was just labeled in the UFC as having the most beautiful boxing in MMA. It’s adapting that classic boxing to MMA, and my trainer focuses on that, so I have that advantage. I have pure boxing, but adapted to MMA.”
As far as the magnitude of the matchup, Montes is exited to represent Mexico on the main card of a major MMA promotion. She sees Shields as a great career opportunity and is eager to share the cage with someone she looks up to.
“I knew of her. I follow her career and I knew that she had just made the jump to MMA,” Montes said, recalling how she got the call to fight Shields. “At first, I was taken away by the offer, but I never doubted on taking the fight because I saw it as an opportunity. But I was taken away by it and excited, too. It was like, ‘Wow in just my third fight I can fight someone that I follow and admire.’ That’s super cool. Things happen for a reason and opportunity doesn’t come twice, so here I am. ”
Claressa Shields def. Brittney Elkin at 2021 PFL 4: Best photos
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