Stevie Ray did it again, though this time much less emphatically.
Ray outpointed Anthony Pettis to claim a spot in the 2022 PFL lightweight tournament finals on Friday night in the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden. It was Ray’s second victory over Pettis in six weeks, having beaten him with a modified twister at PFL 5 to make it into the semifinals, but he had a much more difficult time with Pettis in the rematch, only managing to win a decision.
Ray once again dominated Pettis with his grappling, securing takedowns and dominant position in the first two rounds, and threatening Pettis with a north-south choke and another twister. The former UFC lightweight champion was able to survive the grappling exchanges this time around though, and in the third stanza, “Showtime” was able to keep the fight standing and land some of his signature strikes. It was too little, too late for Pettis though, who lost 29-28 on all three judges scorecards.
The loss moves Pettis to 1-4 in the PFL, while the win secures Ray an opportunity at the lightweight season championship and $1 million.
In the co-main event, Omari Akhmedov won a lackluster unanimous decision over teammate Josh Silveira to secure his spot in the light heavyweight finals. Akhmedov outworked Silveira over the course of 15 minutes, defending takedowns and outboxing his American Top Team teammate, to earn scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.
In the first lightweight semifinal of the evening, Olivier Aubin-Mercier put on a dominant display to earn his shot at the lightweight tournament championship, dropping Alexander Martinez multiple times and spending minutes on end in back control, en route to a unanimous decision victory, with scores of 30-27, 30-26, and 30-26. Aubin-Mercier will now face Ray in the lightweight tournament finals later this year.
It was a vicious knee that got the job done for Wilkinson, who moved to 3-0 inside the PFL, all by way of stoppage. Wilkinson will now face Akhmedov in the light heavyweight tournament finals later this year.
Check out the full PFL Playoff 1 results below:
Main card (ESPN/ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET)
Stevie Ray def. Anthony Pettis by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Omari Akhmedov def. Josh Silveira by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Alexander Martinez by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Rob Wilkinson def. Delan Monte by KO (knee) at 1:37 of Round 1 | Watch finish
Prelims (ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET)
Itso Babulaidze def. Mahmoud Sebie by TKO (uppercut and punches) at 4:30 of Round 1
Marthin Hamlet def. Cory Hendricks by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)