Rani Yahya is back to the bantamweight division.
A former WEC bantamweight title challenger, Yahya will return to the 135-pound division after a 4-2 run as a featherweight, as he agrees to take on TUF 14 alum Johnny Bedford at UFC Fight Night 39 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on April 11. MMAFighting.com confirmed the match-up with sources close to the situation.
Yahya (19-8), an Abu Dhabi Combat Club champion in 2007, cuts down to 135 pounds following a disappointing loss to Tom Niinimäki at TUF 18 Finale in November. Prior to the loss, the grappling wizard was riding a three-fight win streak. Yahya went 4-4 as a bantamweight under the WEC banner, with wins over the likes of Mark Hominick and Eddie Wineland.
Bedford (19-10-1) returns to the cage after recovering from an injury that forced him out of a fight with Hugo Viana at UFN 28. The TUF 14 semifinalist is 2-1 inside the Octagon with knockout wins over Louis Gaudinot and Marcos Vinicius, and looks to get back on track after a submission loss to Bryan Caraway at UFC 159.
UFC’s return to the United Arab Emirates takes place at the Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, and is headlined by a heavyweight contest between Roy Nelson and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.