Scottish fighter Stevie Ray has come to terms with the UFC and will return on March 17th in London.
After months of questions as to whether former Cage Warriors champ Stevie Ray would stay in the UFC or not, the UK fighter has been added to the UFC: London card on March 17th. Ray will step in for injured Rustam Khabilov to face Kajan Johnson at the O2 Arena.
Ray has been out of action since July of 2017 after fighting out his UFC contract with a loss over Paul Felder at UFC Glasgow. He went so far as declare his intention to retire if the UFC didn’t manage to put together a fight for him on the March card, and while it took a late replacement situation to do it, the UFC managed to get him on there.
“The goal was to get to the UFC. It took me like seven years – a lot of time and a lot of fights – to get there,” Ray told the MMA Hour back in December. “And if didn’t get signed after getting beaten by Paul Felder, who’s obviously on a tear now, I don’t know…that’s obviously just how we’re getting looked after now I suppose.”
“That’s the most annoying part about it. I don’t think I deserve to not get re-signed. I’ve won against some good guys, Ross Pearson and Joe Lauzon, I just got caught by Felder. It’s one of those things, it’s part of the fight game. I still have a lot left in me. There are a few guys I would love to get my hands on.”
Ray is 5-2 in the UFC while Kajan Johnson is 3-1 on a three fight win streak. Most people probably know Johnson for his fights with the UFC. The Canadian lightweight was removed from a UFC Athlete Retreat seminar after criticizing the Reebok uniform deal, and is currently leading Project Spearhead alongside Leslie Smith. He’ll have his hands full in the cage against Ray in what is a definite Fight of the Night contender.
Ray and Felder had a polite exchange on Twitter, agreeing to the bout earlier this week. And an interesting fight it should be. Ray brings a record of 21-6 into the bout with 14 stoppages. He’s 5-1 in the UFC and is on a two-fight win streak, most recently a majority decision victory over Joe Lauzon at UFC Fight Night 108.
Felder, meanwhile, brings a reputation for exciting fights, win or lose. Felder (13-3) is 5-3 in the UFC and has won three of his past four fights. In his most recent bout, he earned a Performance of the Night bonus for his first-round TKO of Alexander Ricci at UFC Fight Night 105.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) veteran Ross Pearson moved back down to lightweight to challenge talented Scottish finisher Stevie Ray earlier today (Sat., Nov. 19, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 99 exclusively on Fight Pass from inside the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Pearson was aiming to end a two-fight losing streak while Ray was looking to notch his fourth win in five Octagon appearances.
After a back-and-forth first round that culminated with an emphatic takedown slam by Ray, the Scottish prospect began to tag Pearson with oblique kicks, body shots and head attacks. Ray channeled spacing footwork and versatile offensive weapons to pick apart the Brit for the majority of three rounds en route to earning the split-decision win.
The full video highlights can be seen above courtesy of UFC during Ray’s post-fight backstage interview.
With this win, Ray moves closer to the lightweight top 15. While Pearson has lost three in a row, he’s still a good measuring stick for rising prospects. Ray passed the test with flying colors and looks primed to breakout in 2017.
For complete UFC Fight Night 99 results and coverage click here.
Lightweight prospect Stevie Ray has been forced to withdraw from his fight on July 8 against Jake Matthews at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale, the UFC confirmed on Thursday following an initial report by The Daily Telegraph. In Ray’s stead, Matthews will take on fellow prospect Kevin Lee, who steps in as a replacement on five weeks’ notice.
Lee (12-2) is a 23-year-old former Division II wrestler who has won five of his seven contests inside the Octagon since debuting in 2014.
Nicknamed “The Motown Phenom,” Lee saw his four-fight win streak snapped at the hands of Leonardo Santos at UFC 194, but rebounded to pick up a unanimous decision victory over former TUF winner Efrain Escudero in April.
He’ll now face Matthews (10-1), a 21-year-old prospect from Australia who has cemented himself as a name to watch with a string of impressive performances since debuting on TUF Nations.
Matthews has won of four of his five UFC contests, all via stoppage. He earned his first ‘Fight of the Night’ honor in March with an electric three-round brawl against Johnny Case, which Matthews won in the closing seconds via rear-naked choke.