UFC Fight Night 39 Fight Breakdown: Rani Yahya (-175) vs. Johnny Bedford (+155)

Rani Yahya A featherweight bout pitting Rani Yahya against “Brutal” Johnny Bedford takes place on the preliminary card of UFC Fight Night 39. The current betting line for the fight at Several Bookmakers lists Yahya as a -175 favorite (bet $175 to win $100) while Bedford is a +155 underdog (bet $100 to win $155). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas originally opened up Yahya at -170 and Bedford at +130, meaning there has been modest early action on Yahya as the line has tightened. I support the modest line movement as I believe Yahya wins this fight. Here’s why. Yahya (19-8) is one of the most talented submission grapplers in MMA today. The 29-year-old is a BJJ black belt and has won numerous awards for his submission prowess around the world, and his background has translated well into MMA as he has 15 career submission victories in the sport, including wins over the likes of Mike Brown, Mark Hominick, and Eddie Wineland. Since coming to the UFC in 2011, Yahya has gone 4-2 at featherweight and he will be making the drop down to 135lbs for this contest against Bedford. At bantamweight Yahya should be more even in size against his opponents which should allow him to use his grappling more effectively and not force him to strike, which is by far the weakest part of his game (zero career knockout wins). Against Bedford, Yahya goes up against an opponent who has poor submission defence and with Yahya’s skill on the mat, there’s no doubt that’s the area of Bedford’s game he’ll try to exploit the most, and that’s why he is the favorite in this fight. Bedford (19-10-1) was a contestant on TUF season 14 and since the show has gone a stellar 2-1 in the UFC. However, the 31-year-old has been plagued with injuries and he lost his last fight against Bryan Caraway almost one year ago. So he’ll be coming back from a long layoff when he takes on Yahya, and that ring rust could really hurt him in this fight as he goes up against a tenacious grappler. Still, Bedford is a solid grappler himself and he has way more knockout power than Yahya does. So if he can keep this fight on the feet or get Yahya in a bad position on the ground, he could rain down some heavy blows and potentially get a stoppage. But the odds are Beford is going to get outgrappled and considering he has nine career submission losses and Yahya is an ace on the mat, there is a clear reason why Bedford is the underdog going into this fight despite the fact he has way more experience in the weight class. I believe Yahya is a more technically skilled grappler than Bedford and at 135lbs he should match Bedford in size. Yahya should be able to land takedowns on Bedford throughout the course of the fight and either wind up grinding out a decision or, even more likely, winning the fight via highlight-reel submission. At -175 I believe there’s good value on the Yahya moneyline as I had him capped at at least 2-to-1 in this spot and I’m surprised the line hasn’t really moved. I see a very clear path to victory for Yahya and he should get the job done in this one without too much of a scare from Bedford. As for props, take a look at Yahya wins inside the distance and Yahya by submission and see if there’s some good odds on them.

Written by Adam Martin.

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