Johnny Bedford vs Rani Yahya – UFC Fight Night 51 Statistical Analysis and Fight Pick

UFC Fight Night 51 September 13, 2014 Bantamweight Matchup: Johnny Bedford vs Rani Yahya By @fightnomics   Big Picture:  In a rematch of an unfortunate No Contest result just a few months ago, Bantamweights Johnny Bedford and Rani Yahya are headed back to the cage to settle the score. Both unranked fighters have losses mixed in with their recent No Contest, making their placement at the bottom of the prelims a possible hint from management that they may also be fighting for their jobs. Desperate times can make for desperate fighting, and their history together could also ratchet up the intensity as each man has something to prove. Currently, Bedford is favored at -170, with Yahya the underdog at +130. There’s a stylistic mismatch brewing, so let’s see how they stack up on the stat line and what it all means.   Summary Stats:

Uber Tape FN 51 - Bedford-Yahya To see more Uber Tales of the Tape for this UFC fight card, check out MMA Oddsbreaker Premium.

  Tale of Tape Matchup: The traditional metrics on the Tale of the Tape give an overall advantage to the larger Bedford. Both fighters use the same striking stance, and are around the same age with an insignificant differential. Size and range will be very important in a striker versus grappler matchup.   Striking Matchup: The striking metrics definitely favor Bedford. Yahya has never won by T/KO, but his submission game is so good he’s able to compete in MMA despite an apparent hole in his game. The stat line tells a clear story that Bedford is more accurate, powerful, and more likely to control the exchanges at a higher volume and pace. Bedford averages almost 16 strike attempts per minute he spends standing, well above the division’s average of 11.9. Yahya averages only 9.1, so expect Bedford to be the one initiating and finishing most exchanges as long as he stays out of range of a takedown. Landing more strikes in this matchup could eventually lead to a knockdown and/or finish. On the flipside, Yahya does exhibit the better strike avoidance of the two, but it’s not above average. He’s also much more likely to use leg kicks, attempting them at twice the rate of the average UFC fighter. The leg kicks could be effective against a longer fighter like Bedford, as Yahya may not be as worried about takedowns in this matchup hoping that his jiu jitsu game will be enough to worry Bedford about going to ground. Note: Bedford’s most recent fight in which he lost by TKO is not accounted for in this data, as it was too recent. He suffered one knockdown, which drops his “chin” rating. However, most other metrics would not change significantly as the fight was very short. Before the knockdown, Bedford was actually the more effective fighter landing strikes.   Grappling Matchup: It’s a classic clash of styles on the mat between the American wrestler and the Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt. Bedford may not be a submission ace (though he does have a brown belt in BJJ), but his grappling stats overall are pretty solid. He has above average success when he attempts takedowns, is able to advance position, and has generally controlled the majority of the time he has spent on the mat. All signs point to a capable wrestler, and Bedford has NCAA D1 experience. Defensively, Bedford is above average against opponents’ takedowns, which will be important in this matchup given that Yahya attempts a one takedown for every 35 seconds he’s on his feet. Unfortunately, all those attempts come at the cost of making his strategy obvious, and his takedown success rate has been below average. The combination of these trends suggest that Bedford should be able to keep this standing, if he’s wise enough to recognize his better chances striking with Yahya. Look no further than the final stat on the Uber Tale of the Tape to see why that is the case. Once on the ground, Yahya will be throwing submissions whenever he can, which is how he has finished 15 of his 19 victorious fights.   Reed’s Pick: Bedford by TKO (click for latest MMA odds)   Reed’s Recommended Play:  It’s an impressive sweep of advantages for Johnny Bedford in this matchup should he fight to his strengths and be conservative on the mat. The opening line is reasonable enough to take Bedford straight up in a crowd-upsetting win. If more support comes in for the hometown grappler, the there’s even more value on Bedford. The Under of 2.5 rounds is -160, the Over +120. Although fewer than half of Bantamweight fights end in less than three rounds, each fighter here has a path to victory via a finish. If Yahya is inspired by his hometown crowd to get close early, he could latch on and start with submission attempts that are dangerous no matter how good Bedford’s wrestling is. But coming forward against Brutal Bedford’s onslaught could also play right to the striking finish that Bedford is looking for. The multiple angles to an early ending make the Under a better play. “Fightnomics” the book is now available on Amazon! Follow along on Twitter for the latest UFC stats and MMA analysis, or on Facebook, if you prefer.

Written by Reed Kuhn

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