Stevie Ray proved his regular season victory over former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis was no fluke.

In the feature bout on the main card of 2022 PFL Playoffs 1, Ray (25-10) faced Pettis (25-14) for the second-straight time following their first meeting at 2022 PFL 5. However, this bout had much higher stakes with a trip to the lightweight finals and a shot at $1 million prize.

Unlike their first meeting, there would be no submission finish, but Ray banked enough control time and submission threats on the mat to secure two rounds on the judges’ scorecards, earning three 29-28 scores in the unanimous decision victory.

Pettis found himself in serious trouble in the closing moments of the opening round. While the first few minutes of the fight saw both fighters exchanging strikes on the feet, things changed quickly when Ray secured a solid takedown. Ray transitioned to a beautiful north/south choke and put the squeeze on Pettis. Despite the pressure appearing to be tight, Pettis found his way out and managed to put together a few strikes on the feet before the round concluded.

Wild 1st round between Ray and Pettis! Round 2 up NOW!#PFLPlayoffs LIVE on ESPN & ESPN+

— PFL (@PFLMMA) August 6, 2022

Ray didn’t spend too much time on the feet in the second round. He once again got another takedown on Pettis and found his way to the back of the former UFC champ. Ray locked in the body triangle, a similar position to the first fight between these two, and began looking for submissions. Pettis managed to break the body triangle, but only just seconds before the round ended.

Early in the third round, Pettis let his hands and his feet go early, landing some nice strikes on his opponent. Ray attempted to clinch and bring the fight to the ground, but was unsuccessful. Pettis kept the fight on the feet and they continued to trade strikes. With about 90 seconds remaining, Ray clinched again and found his way to the back of Pettis while standing. They would separate with short time remaining. Pettis got in a few more good strikes in the closing seconds, but he needed a finish and it would not come.

Congratulations @StevenRayMMA! He gets the nod over Pettis and is heading to the 2022 #PFLChampionship! #PFLPlayoffs

— PFL (@PFLMMA) August 6, 2022

The judges turned in identical scores and now Ray advances to the finals where he will face Olivier Aubin-Mercier, who defeated Alexander Martinez earlier on the main card via unanimous decision.

Results of 2022 PFL Playoffs 1 include:

  • Anthony Pettis vs. Stevie Ray – welterweight semifinal
  • Omari Akhmedov def. Josh Silveira via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) – light heavyweight semifinal
  • Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Alexander Martinez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26) – welterweight semifinal
  • Rob Wilkinson def. Delan Monte via knockout (knee) – Round 1, 1:37 – light heavyweight semifinal
  • Itso Babulaidze def. Mahmoud Sebie via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:30
  • Marthin Hamlet def. Cory Hendricks via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) – 2023 light heavyweight qualifier

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