ATLANTA — Stevie Ray needed to finish former UFC champion Anthony Pettis on Friday in order to make the 2022 PFL playoffs. Well, mission accomplished for the 32-year-old veteran.
Ray (24-10) punched his ticket to the PFL playoffs with a rare finishing move against Pettis. The Scottish fighter tapped Pettis at 3:57 of the second round, via modified body lock at PFL 5 inside Overtime Elite Arena. The victory earned him five points and the No. 4 lightweight seed.
The finish came after Ray secured a body triangle on Pettis from the back. Pettis (23-10) successfully turned into the body lock, but Ray maintained control of Pettis’ lower body with his legs and twisted him awkwardly, injuring his rib. Pettis winced in pain and immediately tapped. He eventually left the building on his own accord and indicated he would return for the playoffs.
Despite the loss, Pettis is still the No. 1 seed at lightweight, thanks to a first-round finish of Myles Price in May. If he is healthy enough to make his playoff appearance, he will face Ray in a rematch. Olivier Aubin-Mercier and Alexander Martinez are the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds, respectively.
Ray’s victory was not the only upset of the night.
In the heavyweight division, 2021 champion Bruno Cappelozza (15-6) suffered a major defeat at the hands of Matheus Scheffel(16-8). Scheffel, of Curitiba, Brazil, hurt Cappelozza with punches several times in the first round and held his own on the feet the rest of the way. All three judges scored the heavyweight bout for Scheffel, who was a massive betting underdog going in.
In addition to Cappelozza, another promising Brazilian heavyweight in Renan Ferreira (9-3) lost a three-round decision to Klidson Abreu (17-5). Ferreira came into the bout off back-to-back knockout wins that only took 25 and 31 seconds. Abreu was ready for the 6-foot-8 heavyweight’s firepower, however. He took Ferreira down at will, tired him out and even won several exchanges on the feet en route to unanimous scorecards.
Although Cappelozza and Ferreira suffered upset losses, they will both still make the playoffs based on first-round finishes in the opening round. Cappelozza is the No. 3 seed, while Ferreira takes the No. 4 spot. Russia’s Denis Goltstov (29-7) will enter as the No. 1 seed, off a decision win against late replacement Maurice Greene. And 2021 runner-up Ante Delija (21-5) is the No. 2 seed, after a victory against Shelton Graves.
At featherweight, Chris Wade (22-7) seized control of the No. 1 seed by knocking out Kyle Bochniak in the first round with a left head kick. Japan’s Ryoji Kudo (11-3) earned a stunning playoff berth by knocking out Alejandro Flores with a right hand in the very first round. The victory handed Kudo the No. 2 seed, even though he lost his opening season matchup earlier this year.
Former NCAA national wrestling champion Bubba Jenkins (18-5) secured the No. 3 seed with an easy decision win over Reinaldo Ekson, and Manchester’s Brendan Loughnane (23-4) earned the No. 4 seed with a decision win of his own against Ago Huskic.
The PFL’s regular season will wrap up next week in the same venue, and feature the women’s lightweight and welterweight divisions.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism