After finishing out 2018 with two wins in his two fights, welterweight prospect Tyler Ray kept his momentum going when he faced Sam Garrett at LFA 64 this past April by picking up a second-round submission win.
For Ray it was not only good to pick up his third straight win, but he was able to showcase some aspects of his game and identify issues that needed to be corrected in others.
“I got to show a little bit of what I’m capable of on my feet, but not as much (as I would have liked),” Ray told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m capable of so much more on my feet, but I didn’t get to show it all. Overall I’m happy with my performance.
“In the first round, there were a couple of transitions I can tighten up and get the finish quicker, but Sam, I give it to him, he was a tough kid. He knew what he was doing on the ground, so he was making it tough for me to get the submissions. Eventually, I was able to get the submission in the second round. It was a dominant performance, and I came out with a victory and my hand raised, so I’m happy with it.”
Ray attributes his success to the work not only he has personally put in the gym, but also the training he gets with some of the top talent in MMA.
“I think I’m hitting those 10,000 reps in areas and things are starting to click and just happen because I’ve been drilling so much and watching film,” said Ray. “I’m starting to turn that corner and see results.
“I’m trying stuff out in the gym. I train with the best team in the world. I train with the UFC welterweight champion (Kamaru Usman) every day. Being able to work with those guys every day is a blessing and it improves my game so much.”
On Friday in Atlanta, Ga., Ray (4-1) will look to keep his winning streak going when he faces Hugh Pulley (7-4) in an LFA 71 main card welterweight bout.
“Once again it’s another tough guy,” Ray said of Pulley. “I never underestimate anybody, so I respect him. He has more fights than I have. He’s an experienced guy. He’s fought some tough opponents, including two UFC vets, so he’s not like some slouch.
“I’m going to have to go out there, work my techniques, and at the end of the day my game plan is just going to be too much for him. I’m ready for whatever. I’m ready for a three round fight if need be, but I’m always going to be looking for a finish and dominating in every position until the fight is over.”
While Ray feels a solid performance on Friday could get him some attention from the next level, he’s going to focus solely on Pulley and making sure he adds to his winning streak first.
“I’m always just trying to focus on what’s in front of me right now,” said Ray. “Friday has all of my attention. After this, after I get a win against a very good and tough respectable opponent, I expect to have the UFC’s on me.
“Hopefully, we can another fight in the LFA or maybe I’ll keep my weight down and be ready for a short notice call, but I just want to go out this Friday and dominate and finish, and show them I’m ready for the next level when the call comes.”