Joe Ray was game in a 180lb catchweight bout with Nah-Shon Burrell on the Strikeforce: Overeem vs Werdum undercard, but Burrell wore him down and took a clear decision -- 29-28 on all three judges cards. Ray won the first round off his back in a rare show of MMA understanding by all the judges.
Burrell deserved the decision, bringing the Texas judges to 1-1 for the night after gifting Isaac Vallie-Flag with an inexplicable call over Brian Melancon.
Burrell got the initial take down but Ray, an American Top Team product, fired off a succession of submission attacks that seemed to come very close to getting the tap although only Burrell knows for sure. Ray threw up a triangle, a double arm bar attempt, a kneebar and a second arm bar attack to take the round.
Burrell fought back in the second and especially the third, edging Ray on the feet and dominating the take down battle. More importantly the fading Ray wasn't able to replicate the barrage of submission attacks in either of the later rounds. He did threaten with a nasty guillotine in the third but it was a dying gasp of a losing effort.