The month of July comes to a close in MMA this Saturday night with UFC Vegas 33 from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas. The event features 15 contests, including a tussle at bantamweight between two unranked combatants, Kyung Ho Kang and Rani Yahya.
Coverage of UFC Vegas 33 begins with undercard action at 6 pm ET/ 3 pm PT on ESPN, with a live simulcast on the cabler’s streaming platform, ESPN+.
This contest at 135 lbs. will be a maximum of three, five-minute rounds. This is action you will not want to miss in what’s quite possibly the sport’s deepest division.
UFC Vegas 33 Fighter Comparison
Heading into this bantamweight confrontation in UFC Vegas 33, Kyung Ho Kang (17-8/1 NC) is the taller man at 5-foot-9, with Rani Yahya (27-10-1/1 NC) standing 5-foot-6.
In addition, Kang owns a six-inch reach advantage (73 inches to 67 inches) and a 1 1/2-inch leg reach advantage (39 inches to 37 1/2 inches) over Yahya going into the fight on Saturday night.
Kang Seeking Ranked Foe Next Time Out if He Wins
“Mr. Perfect” enters UFC Vegas 33 having gone 4-1 in his last five UFC appearances and is currently on a three-fight winning streak, but he hasn’t fought in close to two years. Most recently Kang bested Pinguyan Liu (split decision) in December of 2019.
The 33-year-old hopes that a victory this weekend yields to a ranked foe in his next fight, which he expressed in an interview, saying:
“It is true that there’s frustration because I am getting older but I am winning fights,” he said. “I’m on a winning streak. I’ve been asking for ranked opponents. It is what it is. I believe my next opponent is between #15 and #20, so I do believe that if I beat him, there are no other options but someone in the top 15.”
Yahya Still Hit the Gym Despite COVID-19 Pandemic
In the other corner, Brazil’s Yahya has posted a 3-1-1 record in his last five bouts and is currently on a two-fight unbeaten streak. Last time out, he locked in a second-round submission due to an arm-triangle choke against Ray Rodriguez on March 13.
Prior to that fight, our Lewis Simpson talked with Yahya, who mentioned that he kept busy during the onset of COVID, saying:
“I kept training during the pandemic, keeping myself in good shape expecting to fight. About my last fight, I ended up not performing the way I expected. The fight was a draw, and I was looking to get the win, of course, I changed many things in the way I train, trying to be calmer and relax to perform better during all the three rounds.”
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, this UFC Vegas 33 matchup seems to favor Yahya, a second-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, with Kang holding a blue belt in BJJ. However, one aspect of Kang’s fighting acumen that stands out on video is his proclivity to go for the submission, as was displayed during a 2018 fight on FS1 against Guido Cannetti.
That night, Kang was able to reverse on a Cannetti slam and work him down to the mat to score that triangle to take the victory late in the opening round. If Kang is able to do this here as he did three years ago, it’ll be good night early for Yahya.
Still, Yahya has an impressive ground game in his own right, as seen in the film of his fight against Josh Grispi back in 2012.
Although Grispi’s game plan that night was to avoid going to the mat, Yahya took him down and established control, eventually getting to side control after a pass before finally locking in a north/south choke to get Grispi to tap and nap inside the first round.
If Yahya dumps Kang in this fight during UFC Vegas 33, this one could be over in a hurry.
The statistics for this pairing do not lie: If this fight at UFC Vegas 33 ends inside the distance, the odds are favoring a stoppage via submission, with Kang’s fights ending by submission 73% of the time, Yahya’s at 79%.
Don’t make that fridge run during the fight.
Prediction: Kyung Ho Kang by First-Round Submission.
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