WHEN the Ultimate Fighting Championship crash-landed in Scotland for the first time two years ago, it was a fierce and brutal occasion that released a clan mentality.

Twelve thousand of the local brood converged not on a blustery hill on Bannockburn but under the roof of the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, united to back three of Scotland’s bravest warriors going into battle.

As the sun went down over the Clyde that July night, the dawn of the UFC broke inside.

That sense of harmony and togetherness served our fighters well that evening.

On UFC Fight Night 72, the three Scots who stepped into the octagon triumphed in front of a partisan home crowd that were about as intimidating as walking naked through no-man’s land with a traffic cone on your head while playing a bugle.

In just three minutes and four seconds, Robert Whiteford of West Lothian knocked out Paul Redmond before vaulting into the crowd, while Joanne Calderwood managed to see off Courtney Casey much to the delight of the thousands belting out Flower of Scotland in the gallery behind her.

Yet, the quickest victory of the Scots trio was recorded by Kirkcaldy’s very own Stevie Ray, who took just two minutes and 30 seconds to dispose of Leonardo Mafra.

It is a result the 27-year-old Fifer will have an opportunity to repeat this summer.

Herald Sport can exclusively reveal that Ray will feature again in his own country, fighting in this summer’s UFC Fight Night on July 16.

Known as Braveheart to his supporters, the UFC lightweight will need plenty of courage to get by his opponent, Paul Felder. Hailing from Pennsylvannia, the dogged fighter will be Ray’s toughest opponent yet in the UFC, arriving in Glasgow with a record

of 13-3.

Speaking to Herald Sport, Ray, who comes into the fight on the back of a points-decision win over Joe Lauzon last month in Tenessee, said: “I’m just looking forward to fighting in my home country.

If it’s anything like last time, it will be amazing.

“I get goosebumps just thinking about it. I can remember walking out and hearing the fans cheering and I just forgot about everything else.

“I got the knockout, the fans went crazy and the rest is history. That moment will live with me for the rest of my life, so I just can’t wait to do it all over again.

“I want to put on a show for my fans. This is a big fight for me. Everyone who knows about the UFC and about the sport of MMA knows who Paul Felder is. He has been in there with the toughest guys like Edson Barboza. He has a lot of experience, and people know who he is. He’s a tough fighter and so this is a good test for me.

“This is also the last fight on my current UFC contract, so I’m looking to go out there, put on a great fight, maybe get a bonus and then look at a new contract.

“If I get past Paul, I’ll have three wins in a row, against some big names and I’ll be ready to really make a name for myself as a big name in the European market.”

Felder, who was equally delighted to get the fight confirmed, added: “I want to fight in Scotland. I want to fight in his home town. I want to fight in front of that sold-out crowd.

“I know it’s going to be like fireworks in there. And I really hope we can be co-main or main event. I know that we’re not really high-ranked opponents right now, but I think we’re two guys that will put on a show. He’s a native boy. I think people will love to get behind him and hate me.”

That very sense of camaraderie which washed over the last event to hit Scotland may be somewhat different to what Ray and those attending the event will experience this time.

He will be joined on the bill by Coatbridge native Paul Craig, a relative newcomer to the UFC, who will go toe-to-toe against

Khalil Rountree.

Despite their Scottish roots, the pair have recently been embroiled in a bitter online war of words that adds a peculiar but intriguing element to what is a showpiece occasion for Scottish sport.

Mixed martial arts is still seen as a largely niche sport north of the Border but the appetite for the UFC, and in particular Scottish fighters, transcends the blurred line where the M74 meets the M6.

Kilmarnock’s Calderwood, who is heavily thought to be in line to appear on the bill, has a worldwide following and Ray could propel himself further into that spotlight if he shuts out Felder, as well as Craig.

“When we announced our return to Glasgow just a few weeks’ back, the reaction from fans was phenomenal,” said Joe Carr, the UFC senior vice-president.

“Our July 2015 event sold out in a matter of minutes and, if the fans’ response this time around is anything to go by, we can expect a similar reaction when tickets are released on June 2. We are very much looking forward to delivering another memorable event here in July.

“Europe remains an incredibly important market for our business and has been key to the international growth we’ve seen in recent years.

“It was only right that we committed to delivering these three events in the region in 2017.”

Tickets for UFC FIGHT NIGHT® : GLASGOW go on sale to the general public on Friday, June 2 at 10:00 a.m. BST via Ticketmaster.