Last night in Newcastle, reigning women’s super middleweight champion Savannah Marshall won her MMA debut in what can only be described as thrilling if not too pretty fashion. Facing Brazil’s Mirela Vargas at middleweight, Marshall showed what she has learnt in training for her new sport, with the 33 year old being able to get back up after suffering predictable, indeed at this stage in her fledgling MMA career, unavoidable takedowns.

It was over in the first round but what a round it was. Marshall was kicked to the legs multiple times, as she was taken down way more than just once. But Marshall battled hard and once she was upright, her power and accuracy were too much for the game Vargas, who is 26 years old and is now 1-3 in MMA.

YouTube video

Both ladies were feeling the pace, and why not. Marshall, who is 13-1 in boxing and is now 1-0 as an MMA fighter, got the stoppage as she pummelled a pretty much out of it Vargas against the cage wall, the referee diving in. Both ladies hugged at the end, showing mutual respect.

The big story at the end, though, was the impending, seemingly it-has-to-happen rematch between Marshall and Claressa Shields. Shields was at ringside and she met Marshall in the ring after her win. The two didn’t get into any pushing or shoving as might have been expected, the two instead looking like old buddies. This of course could be down to the fact that these two fighters know their only real payday/fight of genuine significance is a part-two.

Shields had too much for Marshall in the ring in 2022, winning a decision, but in MMA, who knows how a rematch might go? Both women want it, indeed need it. First, Shields will move up to challenge for a light heavyweight and a heavyweight belt in July, against Vanessa Lepage-Joanisse. But providing the self-proclaimed “GWOAT” wins that one (and maybe even if she doesn’t) it will almost absolutely be Shields-Marshall II next.

In the UK, in the US, in Saudi Arabia, Marshall says she will take the fight pretty much any place. And in what is a new sport for both women, pretty much anything could happen in the return.

As for last night’s fight, it was entertaining as hell, even if it will not have done a thing for the purists. Boxing purists, that is.

YouTube videoYouTube video

Read the full article here