Rani Yahya showed off his world class grappling skills as he threatened Mizuto Hirota during the entire bout on the canvas on his way to a unanimous decision victory with scores of 29-28 across the board.
Yahya wasted little time looking to take the fight to the mat to open the bout. After landing a solid overhand right, Yahya dove on a leg and dragged Hirota to the canvas but could not keep him grounded as Hirota scrambled back to his feet. Yahya continued to apply pressure, pulling guard and then sweeping Hirota. Yahya peppered Hirota with measured ground and pound from inside the guard, then isolated an arm while passing to side control and then taking the back of Hirota as time ran out on the first round.
Hirota came out in the second and closed the distance, clinching and putting Yahya on the cage. He then fired off a winging right hand but left an opening as Yahya ducked under the punch and took the fight back to the mat. Yahya isolated the arm of Hirota and locked up a tight arm triangle and nearly had the finish as Hirota fought off the choke. With the cage in the way, Yahya bailed on the choke then started dropping big punches from inside the guard of Hirota to close out the second round.
Yahya feinted with punches to open the final stanza then dove in for yet another single leg takedown. This time Hirota was able scramble back to his feet and keep the fight standing as he stuffed multiple takedown attempts from Yahya. Yahya remained relentless however, and finally got the takedown he was looking for. Hirota quickly turned the tables on Yahya, locking up a triangle choke that nearly finished the fight. Yahya displayed excellent defense then scrambled to reverse positions, taking the back back of Hirota. Hirota was able to turn in to Yahya before earning his first takedown of the bout. Hirota flurried with left hands before pushing off and separating, then came flying back into range with a flying knee that just missed its target. Hirota finished the round strong, but it would be too little too late.
With scores of 29-28 on all three cards, Rani Yahya improves to 18-7 overall (3-1 UFC) with the unanimous decision victory. With the loss Mizuto Hirota drops to 14-6 (0-1 UFC).