UFC Fight Night 39 Play: “Brutal” Johnny Bedford (+155) vs Rani Yahya (-175)

yahyaUFC Fight Night 39 Date: April 11, 2014 Arena: DU Arena City: Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Bantamweight bout: “Brutal” Johnny Bedford (+155) vs Rani Yahya (-175) Fight Breakdown: The preliminary card for UFC Fight Night 39 in Abu Dhabi will be a bantamweight contest between The Ultimate Fighters season 14 veteran “Brutal” Johnny Bedford and former WEC bantamweight title challenger Rani Yahya. “Brutal” is the underdog in this bout at +155 ($100 to win $155), with the Brazilian being the favorite at -175 ($175 to win $100) at 5Dimes Sportsbooks. “Brutal” Johnny Bedford (19-10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) will be making his return to the Octagon after a year-long layoff. Now cleared from injuries and coming off a third round submission loss to fellow TUF 14 cast-mate Bryan Caraway, “Brutal” is eager to return and get back in the win column. He is a big bantamweight who hits very hard, and likes to look for the over-hand right. Bedford is an aggressive fighter who likes to move forward and put the pressure on his opponents. He faints well, has a nice lead jab and puts together a solid 1-2 combination. He works decent takedowns, and works a brutal ground and pound attack, hence his nickname. The 31 year old loves to use his knees, and does a lot of damage when implementing them in his offensive attack. His chin is not bad, but it is not good, either. He has been knocked out twice; once by former UFC bantamweight Edwin Figureoa on the regional circuit, and once by current flyweight contender John Dodson in the semi-finals for season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter reality series. The biggest hole in Bedford’s game would be his submission defense, which could very well spell for trouble against an elite grappler like Yahya. His submission defense has been improving, but he still leaves holes, largely in part due to his bad habit of making mental errors in fights. “Brutal” does not have very good takedown defense, but when put on his back, he is very active the guard, constantly attacking with elbows and submission attempts of his own. He does not have great cardio, but may still have the advantage in that department against the Brazilian. Rani Yahya (19-8 MMA, 4-2 UFC) is set to make his return to 135 pounds after going 4-2 in the featherweight division. He comes off a split decision loss against the larger Tom Niinimaki over four months ago at The Ultimate Fighter 18 finale. The 29 year olds striking is average at very best, but keeps improving. He has a nice lead left, and puts together some decent combinations, though he has limited head movement, is flat-footed, and does not move very well on the feet. The Brazilian does not do a great job of setting up his takedowns, as he tends to telegraph them. His gameplan going into every fight is to get it to the ground, where he can implement his top level jiu-jitsu game. Yahya is a second degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so it goes without saying that he is incredibly talented on the mat, as is also evident by the fact that 15 of his 19 professional mixed martial arts career victories have come by way of submission. The six fight UFC veteran has great strength and dominant top control, even against larger opponents. He makes excellent transitions on the mat, and advances positions really well, ultimately setting up and securing a submission; usually one of the many choke’s he likes to go for. does not have good conditioning, but I don’t expect it to play a big factor in this bout. Gabe’s Prediction: I think the Brazilian will look to take this fight to the mat right from the get-go, and I think he will find success. I think he will then begin to work his way towards a submission, most likely a choke of some sort, and I think he will again find success. I believe that is the most likely outcome to this match-up, with the two other possible outcomes being Rahya winning a decision, or Bedford earning a TKO stoppage, after Yahya gasses. Bottom line – I am expecting the Brazilian to earn a submission victory in Abu Dhabi. Also, it is worth noting that this will be Bedford’s first time traveling to Abu Dhabi, while Yahya has been there previously for jiu-jitsu tournaments. Gabe’s Call: Yahya by Submission (rear naked choke, 2:18 round 1) Gabe’s Recommended Play: Rani Yahya (-175) parlayed with Thales Leites (-440) for -108 2.7u to win 2.5u

Written by Gabe Killian

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