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The Bantamweight division plays host to an intriguing fight, as Rani Yahya takes on ‘Mr. Perfect’ Kyung Ho Kang. Originally, this fight was set to co-main event UFC on ESPN 28, but on fight night, Yahya tested positive for Covid, thus scrapping the fight. Now healthy, Yahya looks to build off his submission victory over Ray Rodriguez in March of this year. With twelve wins inside the octagon, six coming via submission, Yahya remains one of the more underrated Bantamweights on the roster. Meanwhile, Kang has won three straight and six of his last seven fights. Having not fought in nearly two years, it will be interesting to see if Kang can shake off the rust. A win here for the South Korean would catapult him into the top fifteen and bigger fights.
In what is becoming a tough division to crack the top fifteen, both men have a chance here. Since joining the UFC in 2011, Rani Yahya has been excellent. In eighteen fights, Yahya is 12-4 with two no contests. However, Yahya has been more inactive than not of late, costing a real chance to finally get himself a ranked opponent. The same could be said about Kang, who served his mandatory two-year military commitment in the midst of his UFC career. Since returning in 2018, Kang has won four of five fights. The last of which came in December of 2019, nearly two years ago.
As for a prediction, I’m going with Kang. In what I expect to be a close fight, I believe Kang’s slightly higher output and wrestling ultimately edge this out. Obviously Yahya is an excellent grappler and would welcome the fight to hit the mat, but Kang’s strength and wrestling chops should aid him in keeping this upright. While Yahya has improved his standup, it’s not a strength of his. On the other hand, Kang isn’t world class on the feet, but he’s good enough to give Yahya fits. Behind a simple jab and timely takedowns, I see Kang outpointing Yahya over three rounds for a decision victory.