Lightweight leader Anthony Pettis returned to action at PFL 5 on Friday, throwing down with fellow UFC alum Stevie Ray a week after the rest of the 155 pound field had wrapped up their season.
Pettis already had a playoff spot locked up; Ray, meanwhile, needed an early finish to advance to the post-season.
The fight did not end how anyone expected.
Living up to his “Showtime” name, Pettis opened the bout with a high kick that just barely missed. From there, he circled along the fence, then exploded forward with a jumping knee that missed. Ray walked forward, throwing, but Pettis fired a counter. The former UFC and WEC champ went back to circling along the fence; a high kick came, but this time care of Ray, whose attack was blocked. Ray then looked to clinch up and hunt for a takedown. Pettis reversed, they’d battle for position, break, and go back to the fence.
Ray would press forward in the final minute of round one, with Pettis on his heels a bit. Ray had his hands going and seemed to be in his comfort zone, but a spinning kick by Pettis closed out the round, with Ray forced to block.
Stevie Ray pressed the action early in round two, walking forward, throwing a combo, and adding a kick — first low, then to the body a moment later. The pair circled; Ray chopped at Pettis’ other leg. At the three minute mark, Pettis opted to change things up, and shot for a double leg takedown, landing it. But Ray wound up taking the back, landing some heavy strikes at Pettis covered up. Pettis made it to the fence, Ray still with one hook in. He added a second, and dragged Pettis down, switching to a body lock.
Ray seemed to have the upper hand, but Pettis was able to reverse. A moment later, however, and Ray pulled off the upset! The Scottish fighter still had a body triangle, put pressure on Pettis’ upper body, and just like that forced a tap! A modified twister/body lock, a very impressive finish, and five points for Stevie Ray.
STEVIE RAY GETS THE TAP!!!!
— PFL (@PFLMMA) June 25, 2022
Thanks to the finish and those points, Ray locks up a spot in the lightweight playoffs. With Pettis already there, we could be seeing a rematch shortly.
Official Result: Stevie Ray def. Anthony Pettis by submission (modified bodylock), Round 2, 3:57