World Extreme Cagefighting title challenger Rani Yahya
has breathed new life into his career. Since he moved to
American Top Team after a March 2017 defeat to Joe Soto, he
has rattled off two straight wins, as he submitted Enrique
Briones with a kimura at UFC Fight Night 144 and tapped
Doane with an arm-triangle at UFC on Fox 28.
Yahya will carry his two-fight winning streak into
UFC Fight Night 135, where he meets Luke
Sanders on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln,
Nebraska. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has compiled a 10-3
record under the
Ultimate Fighting Championship banner, with wins over Mike
Hirota and Masenori Kanehara.
In advance of Yahya’s clash with Sanders, here are some of the
numbers that have come to define one of the bantamweight division’s
more underappreciated veterans:
1: Gold medal at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club
Submission Wrestling World Championships. Yahya achieved the
association’s highest honor in 2007 while competing at -66
kilograms. Two years prior, he captured silver. The submission
specialist owns victories over a number of high-level jiu-jitsu
players, including Leo Vieira, Baret
Yoshida and Jeff
3: Divisions in which he has fought as a mixed
martial artist. Before settling at bantamweight, Yahya also
competed at lightweight and featherweight.
4: Submission wins to start his professional MMA
career. The last three brought Yahya the TNT Vale Tudo 2 tournament
championship. All four fights took place in Goiania, Brazil.
7: Fights inside the WEC. Yahya broke into the
promotion in 2007, when he was rostered following a 23-second
submission of Louie
Moreno at a Palace Fighting Championship event.
14: Fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Yahya has lost only to Soto, Chad Mendes
Niinimaki, all by decision.
1: Round needed to defeat Mark
Hominick. Yahya answered a difficult challenge in his WEC
debut, as he submitted “The Machine” with a rear-naked choke in
just 79 seconds.
5: Rounds fought against Chase Beebe
in a failed bid to capture the WEC bantamweight championship. Yahya
lost a unanimous decision in what was his second appearance with
4: Fights in which he has recorded at least four
takedowns in the UFC and WEC. Yahya executed four of them against
Kanehara, five against Hirota, six against Takeya
Mizugaki and seven against Michinori