A PRO fighter from Kirkcaldy packed his bags and flew to Dubai this week after receiving a surprise call-up to a top mixed martial arts event.
Steven Ray has been drafted in as a late replacement on Cage Warriors – one of Europe’s top MMA promotions – for his debut in the televised series.
The 22-year-old Fifer will tackle Assan Njie from Sweden, ranked the second best middleweight cagefighter in Scandanavia, just three weeks after a first round win over Lithuanian Vaidas Valancius at a show in Glasgow.
Ray told SportsPress: “I trained for 10 weeks for my last fight, and I was a wee bit disappointed that I won so quickly.
“All that training for two minutes work. I put on Twitter that I was up for taking another fight as soon as possible while I’m still fit.
“My manager Tam said there had been a pull out on Cage Warriors and there was a fight for me in Dubai against a highly ranked fighter.
“As soon as he said it, I said let’s go. I’ve always wanted to fight on the show, and now the door has opened for me.”
Despite flying out for the Middle East showdown at short notice, Ray is confident he can overcome his higher ranked opponent, who has only two losses on an 11-2 record.
“I’ve looked at the guy’s video and he looks look really good, but that’s the kind of fight I’m wanting,” he said.
“He’s a really good stand up fighter – I heard he was previously a pro boxer – and he has a good guillotine manoeuvre, so I’ll need to get a game plan for that.”
Ray’s opponent is ranked 10th in Europe at middleweight, but is stepping down to welterweight for the first time.
“I don’t think I’m even ranked in Europe!” Ray said. “I’m 15th in the UK at welterweight.
“He’s coming down a weight so he’s a big guy, but I’ve fought a few big guys already so there’s nothing to fear there.
“It’s his first fight at welterweight so he might struggle a bit with the weight cut. He usually fights at 13 stone but will need to drop to 12 stone.
“If I beat him it will be huge for me. I’ve nothing to lose, it’s a huge opportunity for me, and I’m ready for it.”
Ray’s fight tomorrow (Friday) will be broadcast live at 5 p.m (UK time) over the internet at mmajunkie.com, and highlights will be shown on Sky Sports 4 next Wednesday at 10.30 p.m.