August 27, 2022

Stevie Ray: Scottish MMA star deserving of acclaim after PFL Lightweight final

By Paul Rowe

Stevie Ray stunned PFL fans with two wins over former UFC star Anthony Pettis within six weeks to book himself a place in the PFL season 2022 Final for a chance to win $ 1 million. It’s not been all plane sailing for the man nicknamed the “Braveheart”. As recently as 2019, doctors advised him to retire from MMA due to chronic knee problems, which he did after beating Michael Johnson in the UFC, before returning to MMA with the Professional Fighters League in 2022.

Stevie’s amateur record was impressive, winning seven amateur fights, five by submission. Stevie Ray’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu style impressed fans and experts alike earning him his MMA professional debut in June 2010, winning by KO in his home country of Scotland. As well as fighting professionally in MMA Ray has competed in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments as recently as 2019, where he defeated up-and-coming UFC star Paddy Pimblett winning by an inside heel hook.

Stevie Ray received a call from the UFC asking him to fill in for an injured Jason Saggo after 21 professional mixed martial arts fights (16 wins and five losses) with organisations like OTP, Bamma, and Cage Wars. Ray impressed, defeating Marcin Bandel by TKO in the second round. Having a total of 11 fights in the UFC, Stevie won 7 of them, with 2 of them by TKO and five decision victories, earning a performance of the night bonus for his performance vs Leonardo Mafra in July 2015.

Stevie's significant victory may have been his last in the UFC against Michael Johnson, who he defeated by a majority decision. After signing a new four-fight contract with the UFC, he was scheduled to face Marc Diakiese in March 2020 on the undercard of Tyrone Woodley vs Leon Edwards. However, after receiving devastating news from his doctors about retirement due to the severity of his knee injuries. Stevie was let go by the organisation.

Just over two and a half years later, Stevie Ray made a comeback with the PFL losing his season opener by unanimous decision to Alexander Martinez but returned in his second fight to beat former UFC and arguably the PFL’S biggest star Anthony Pettis by submitting him in round 2. Ray earned himself a spot in the PFL Semifinals, where he would again fight Pettis, only six weeks after the first bout, for a place in the PFL Final to win £ 1 million. 

Stevie Ray outfought and out grappled Pettis to secure a place in the final and will take on Canada’s Olivier Aubin-Mercier in November 2022 for a chance to become a PFL World Champion and complete a remarkable comeback.


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