PROFESSIONAL mixed martial arts fighter Steven Ray won his first bout at lightweight at a show in Inverness on Saturday.
The Kirkcaldy cage warrior has amassed an impressive record of 10 wins and three losses as a welterweight since turning pro two years ago.
But a decison to drop to the 70kg weight division has meant a strict programme of dieting for the dedicated 22-year-old.
And it all proved worthwhile as he recorded a second round victory over veteran Stuart Barrs from England at the Caledonian Combat event.
Ray told the Press: “It was a big effort to make the weight and the diet was really hard, but it was worth it because I felt great for the fight.
“I’ll be one of the bigger fighters at lightweight, whereas I was one of the smaller guys at welterweight, fighting against all the monsters!
“Being a lightweight will be better for my confidence because sometimes at welterweight you see the size of your opponent and that gets in your head a little bit.
“Maybe at lightweight my opponents will start to think like that about me.”
After dictating the fight in round one, Ray sealed victory in round two with a ground and pound maneouvre which forced the referee to stop the fight.
“He was a tough fighter to finish, but I pretty much dominated the whole fight,” he said.
“Stuart is 42-years-old and had his first pro fight when I was 10, so I knew he’d have a lot of experience.
“He’s also a black belt in judo so a lot of people thought it would be a tough fight for me.
“He was quite tough to finish, but once I broke through his guard and started unloading punches the ref stepped in.”
The victory makes up for the recent disappointment of missing out on a place in the Ultimate Fighter TV show.
Ray was invited to try out for the ESPN show but just missed out following the trials in London.
“I made it down to the last 16 but didn’t make the show,” he said.
“But I’m still young so it’s something that might still happen for me in the future.”