UFC and IFL veteran Gideon Ray (15-10-1) will face UFC and King of the Cage veteran Junior Assuncao (8-4) to kick off the main card and live online PPV broadcast of this Friday's Shine Fights: American Top Team vs. The World card in Miami.
Ray has recently met some tough times, going just 2-5 since his exodus from the UFC in late 2006. But he has dropped 30 pounds since his days as a UFC middleweight in the organization and as a star on the comeback season of The Ultimate Fighter, and he is set to make his lightweight debut in a division where finally feels confident:
I’ll tell you what, that’s a good question. I had to go down to 155 just to fight people that are close to my height and weight. People that fight at 185 walk around at 205 or 210. Everybody is heavy into the weight-cutting game. I have a small frame and I have small bones, and it’s hard for me to keep all of that weight – I have to power lift and do a lot of stuff that I don’t like to do. I think that naturally my weight is somewhere between 155 and 165. When I fought at 185, I walked around at 183. When I fought at 170, I walked around at 175 or so. Guys who fight at 170 now are walking around at 195 easily, and that’s just too heavy for me. I think that I’ll get to fight guys comparable to me at 155.
Assuncao, on the other hand, has really thrived recently, going 3-1 in the two years since his exit from the UFC, where he was 1-2 with losses to respectable fighters in Kurt Pellegrino and Nate Diaz. He's developed into a tough veteran fighter with a true love for the game:
I'm getting ready to perform at my best! He is good and fast so I have to be ready for a war. I'm with my training partners and my brothers, that's all I need!
Whether or not these two will ever make it back to the top of the mountain is anybody's guess. But what both Ray and Assuncao are determined to do is put on a show for the fans and help grow the sport that they both love.
Shine Fights 2 will be available via live PPV stream at shinefights.com, and there is currently a presale that cuts the price from $14.95 to just $9.95. Here's the current card for the event, with the top five fights slated to be on the PPV broadcast:
-Jorge Patino vs. Roan Carneiro
-Ryan Healy vs. Luiz Firmino
-Jean Silva vs. Flavio Alvaro
-Yves Edwards vs. James Warfield
-Gideon Ray vs. Junior Assuncao
-Micah Miller vs. Anthony Morrison
-Ediene Gomes vs. TBA
-Herbert Goodman vs. James Brasco
-Brian Fuery vs. Phil Friedman
-Danny Chavez vs. Jonatas Gurgel