Grappling once again saved Rani Yahya’s bacon, though the Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist got an assist by the strategic errors of his UFC Vegas 43 opponent Kyung Ho Kang.
Kang at several points had Yahya on roller skates with heavy punches, but his inability to stay off the canvas led to a rally on the scorecards as Yahya picked up unanimous 29-28 scores for controlling the latter two-thirds of the fight.
At first, it was a flying knee that gave Yahya the opening, and Kang showed promise by getting back to his feet, where he could barely lose throwing tight combinations against the clearly inferior striker Yahya. Then it was a leg kick to open the second round, and this time, Yahya did what he does best and secured back control.
By the final frame, Yahya decided he didn’t even need a leg and simply pulled guard to scramble his way to the back, where Kang was unable to escape. Although Kang was able to avoid the finish, the optics were all bad for the final two rounds of the fight.
Yahya, one of the most experienced octagon competitors in the UFC, picked up his second straight win and snapped the three-fight winning streak of Kang.