Scotland’s Stevie Ray put together a strong final few minutes of his bout at UFC Sinagpore, taking a close decision win over Michael Johnson.
Promotion veteran Michael Johnson returned to lightweight at UFC Singapore, following a four-fight stretch at featherweight. The 33-year-old, who joined the UFC in 2010, went 2-2 in his run at 145-pounds. In his most recent bout, Johnson was defeated by Josh Emmett, getting knocked-out late in the third round. The move to featherweight came after a 1-4 stretch at 155-pounds, which ended with back-to-back losses to Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. Lightweight is likely the better career fit for Johnson, who missed weight in his penultimate featherweight fight, a decision win over Artem Lobov in October of last year.
While Johnson had faced some struggles ahead of UFC Singapore, the same could be said for fan-favorite Stevie Ray. The 29-year-old Scotland-native is 1-3 in his last four bouts, with two of those losses coming via first-round KO. Most recently Ray was stopped by Leonardo Santos in the first round at UFC Stockholm in June. The loss followed a decision win over Jessin Ayari last year. Overall, Ray had a 6-4 career record in the promotion before his bout with Johnson.
The duo traded leg kicks early, with both fighters landing during a couple of quick exchanges. Ray was committed to the leg kicks, and began to add more strikes to the end of his kicks, with neither fighter wanting to fight off of the back foot. The majority of the round took place in the center of the Octagon from relatively close range, as both men traded quick combinations. It was an even first five minutes, with Ray’s leg kicks potentially giving him the early advantage.
Johnson began round two more aggressive than the first, with much more movement. Johnson countered the first leg kick from Ray in the second stanza, landing a left hand to the head of Ray. The movement from Johnson seemed to open things up, as his jab began to find a home on the face of Ray more consistently. Ray responded with a couple of leg kicks, as the pace of the fight began to pick up. The duo again continued to trade quick combinations, landing well with their signarture left hands. The jabs from Johnson bloodied Ray’s nose, and the volume began to add up for Johnson as he took control toward the end of the round.
While both fighters landed consistently to begin round three, it was clear that Johnson’s punches were doing much more damage than Ray’s. A cut above Ray’s right eye was giving him some trouble, as Johnson’s left hand continued to find a home at the end of his combinations. Two minutes into the final round, Ray was able to get the fight to the ground, taking top control against the cage. The Scotland-native laid in some ground and pound, and eventually took Johnson’s back with a little less tan two minutes remaining in the fight.
Ray had a body triangle on Johnson, who was defending the rear-naked choke attempts from Ray well. Johnson was able to push Ray against the cage, not giving Ray the room to finish the choke. With 50-seconds left, Ray was able to get away from the cage, gave up on the choke, and fired off non-stop ground and pound from Johnson, who was covering up. Ray didn’t stop throwing until the horn sounded, as Johnson was able to defend until the fight ended.
HUGE round 3 for 'Braveheart' 🏴
— UFC (@ufc) October 26, 2019
Result: Stevie Ray def. Michael Johnson by majority decision (29-28×2, 28-28)