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Shields expected at cageside for Marshall MMA debut

Claressa Shields is expected at cageside when Savannah Marshall makes her MMA debut on Saturday.

Marshall, an undisputed champion in boxing, will face Brazilian Mirela Vargas as the main event at PFL Europe in Newcastle.

Dan Hardy, PFL’s head of fighter operations, says the ultimate plan is to have long-time rivals in boxing, Shields and Marshall, face off in MMA.

“What I’m hearing is Claressa is going to be here at the weekend paying close attention to what [Marshall] looks like in the small gloves and cage,” Hardy told BBC Look North.

Shields, 29, made her debut in MMA in 2021 and has secured two wins and one loss since then.

The American star has a long history with Marshall, having lost to her in the amateur ranks before beating her as a pro in their highly-anticipated undisputed middleweight contest in 2022.

Despite gaining revenge over the Briton, the rivalry has continued and speculation a rematch could be on the cards in boxing has continued.

Hardy says 33-year-old Marshall would relish the opportunity to get revenge over Shields in MMA.

“The fact is they’ve got such a good rivalry from amateur to professional boxing and now mixed martial arts," former UFC fighter Hardy said.

“This is really somewhere Savannah can get her own back. She’s the bigger, taller fighter.

“She’s got an aggressive style which I think transitions well into MMA.

“A rematch with Claressa [in MMA], she can get good revenge. Take her down, choke her out.

“That would be a real statement for Savannah Marshall but Claressa’s not just going to let that happen.”