UFC Fight Night 72 Fight Breakdown: Stevie Ray vs. Leonardo Mafra

Stevie-Ray One of the preliminary card bouts at UFC Fight Night 72 is a three-round lightweight bout between Stevie Ray and Leonardo Mafra. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Ray is a -200 favorite (bet $200 to win $100) while Mafra is a +170 underdog (bet $100 to win $170). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Ray at -190 and Mafra at +150, and there has been slight action on Ray so far. I agree with Ray being the clear favorite in this fight as I fully expect him to get his hand raised. Here’s why. Ray (17-5) is one of the top MMA prospects coming out of Scotland. The 25-year-old Scot is 1-0 in the UFC so far with an impressive TKO win over Marcin Bandel. He is a very well-rounded fighter who has good wrestling, striking, and submissions. He is still young and he seems to be getting better every fight. Ray has won his last three fights in a row, including a notable win over Curt Warburton in Cage Warriors. Ray has five losses in his career so far, including four submission defeats, so clearly he needs to work on that part of his game. Offensively, though, he’s a stud, and fighting at home this weekend in Scotland, I expect him to have a great performance against Mafra. Mafra (12-2) was a member on TUF Brazil 1 and has since gone onto post a 1-2 record in the UFC over two stints with the company, including a 1-1 record in his recent stint with a sub loss to Rick Story and a decision win over Cain Carrizosa. Mafra is primarily a standup fighter and he definitely has good striking. He has a lot of power in his strikes, especially in his hands, and all told has won eight fights by knockout. But while he is a great offensive talent, his defence is lacking. His submission defence and his strike defence have both been tested in the past and for the most part he hasn’t passed those tests. I do think Mafra is a solid low-level lightweight who can win some fights in the UFC, but going up against a stud prospect like Ray, I just feel like this is a set-up fight for the Scot to win and unless Mafra knocks him out, I don’t see him winning this fight. I believe Ray is a better all-around mixed martial artist and I expect him to win this fight impressively in his homeland of Scotland. Mafra definitely has some serious striking skills and has big power, but he has poor strike defence and his chin is a bit questionable. I feel like Ray can have some success on the feet and even knock Mafra out here, but I think it’s more likely he will look to use his wrestling and wear out Mafra against the fence and on the ground and finish him with punches or a choke. I just really like Ray in this fight and at 2-to-1 I see some good value in him.

Written by Adam Martin.

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