Ray ready to renew rivalry

MMA fighter Steven Ray, Kirkcaldy, wins the lightweight world title at the Cage Warriors 69 event at The Form in London - June 2014. Pic: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors
MMA fighter Steven Ray, Kirkcaldy, wins the lightweight world title at the Cage Warriors 69 event at The Form in London - June 2014. Pic: Dolly Clew/Cage Warriors
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Kirkcaldy’s Stevie Ray will step back into the cage this weekend to renew one of the biggest mixed martial arts rivalries in the UK.

In the main event of Cage Warriors 73, held at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle on Saturday, Ray will square up against Curt Warburton for the third and final time.

With two previous encounters and two victories each, Saturday’s showdown will finally put to rest any arguement over who the better fighter is.

“There’s a lot of hype around it,” explained Ray. “I think people are intrigued just to see what’s going happen and how it’s going to play out.

“It’s one each so that’s always exciting – to see who’s gonna get the last laugh.

“If he’s training as hard as I am, which I’m sure he is, then it’s going to be one helluva fight.”

It all started on March 9, 2013 at BAMMA 12 where UFC veteran Warburton halted the advance of Scotland’s young up and coming fighter with a unanimous decision victory to claim the Lonsdale British Lightweight Championship.

The rematch came the following year with a newly developed ‘Braveheart’ taking the Cage Warriors lightweight crown back to Fife after a hard fought split-decision win at Cage Warriors 69.

Ray, a former pupil at St Andrews High School, has developed a dedicated fan base since becoming a professional MMA fighter in 2010.

And while Saturday’s fight may be taking place in his opponent’s home town, Ray will have a large travelling support from Fife.

“No matter where it is – it could be in his back garden – once the cage door shuts you don’t hear them (the crowd) anyway,” he said.

“It’s in Newcastle, and all the people who don’t even know him will be cheering him, but I’ve sold the most amount of tickets that I’ve ever sold at a show, so I kind of feel like I’m fighting in my home town as well.”

The 24-year-old father and husband to be first developed his MMA skills at his local gym in Kirkcaldy but he is now training with Scotland’s top fight club, the Dinky Ninjas, at the Higher Level facility in Whitburn.

“This fight is going to be another level that he doesn’t expect,” Ray added. “I’m stronger than before, I’m faster than before, and my technical ability is a lot better as well, so he’s in for a shock.”

* Excerpts taken from http://www.mmaplus.co.uk/