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Savannah Marshall Excited by 'Unknown' Accompanying MMA Debut at PFL Europe



Savannah Marshall didn’t necessarily expect to get such a big stage for her professional mixed martial arts debut.

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Thanks to a background as a boxing champion, her signing with Professional Fighters League was met with some measure of fanfare. However, Marshall would have been willing to pay her dues on an undercard in her first MMA foray. But that’s not how things turned out: Marshall will headline PFL Europe 2 on June 8 when she faces Mirela Vargas at Utilita Arena in Newcastle, England.

“It's amazing for me, and I'm extremely grateful for the PFL to give me this opportunity,” Marshall said on a media call. “I remember a couple of months ago and they were talking about my debut … And I just said, ‘Look, I don't mind fighting abroad. I don't mind going on someone's undercard.’ And they come back and said, ‘Look, we'd like to take it in Newcastle.’

“I thought, ‘Wow, what an opportunity.’ If you're going to do it, I suppose then go big. I’ve headlined the Utilita Arena three or four times as a boxer, and I’m absolutely buzzing to do it in my MMA debut.”

Marshall is far from the first female fighter to make a crossover from the Sweet Science to MMA. Former UFC champion Holly Holm might be the most successful example, but Marshall also has a ready-made rivalry with current PFL talent Claressa Shields. While Marshall admits to watching Shields fight in the cage, she hasn’t spent a lot of time focusing on others, such as Amanda Serrano and Heather Hardy, who have followed a similar path.

“I haven't really looked into that too much,” Marshall said. “Obviously, I've seen Claressa … I've never really I haven't really taken anything from the other girls because everyone's different. Everyone adapts differently. So yeah, like I said it I could all I could take from from Claressa's fights, I can see how she struggled with certain things.”

Marshall says that she has embraced the learning curve that accompanies a transition to MMA. But as expected, it hasn’t been easy.

“Training’s been really hard,” she said. “It’s been a massive change, but one that I’ve enjoyed. I’ve actually enjoyed the adjustments that I had to make from being a boxer.

“… Obviously, this is all, apart from the stand-up, this is all new to me,” she added. “So it's like I've got to cram in a lot of basics in such a small time, and obviously these females in MMA have been covering a lot of different disciplines for a long time. So for me it's just about getting the basics right and perfecting them really.”

Ultimately, it is that new, unconquered horizon that convinced Marshall to try her hand at a new combat sport. In some ways, boxing just wasn’t providing the same thrill that it did earlier in her fighting career.

“I'm really excited. To be honest, I've accomplished everything I set out to accomplish in boxing,” she said. “All I wanted was to be undisputed, to have all the belts and that's what I've done. [It had gotten to [where] I wouldn't even get nervous anymore. which to say nerves isn't really a good thing, but this is new, it's exciting, it's unknown, and it's really got me pumped up. This is something that I've been missing for quite a number of years in boxing.”
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