Rani Yahya never quite became that submission monster he was heralded as back when the UFC acquired the WEC, but he’s been around, and he’s riding a win streak. Michinori Tanaka hasn’t been in the UFC nearly as long, and his record is a bit mottled, so, yeah. Get ready for the Brazilian crowd to have something to cheer about.
They throw a handful of strikes before Yahya secures the takedown and slips on the arm-triangle choke. Tanaka hangs in there, and after two and a half minutes the Brazilian switches to top control – which gives Tanaka the opportunity to reverse and settle in to Yahya’s guard. The horns sounds with Yahya threatening with a triangle.
Round 2 opens with a nonstop scramble that sees Yahya trying to pull his foe down and secure a dominant position, while Tanaka tries to counter with judo throws and zigging whenever Yahya zags. This goes on for pretty much the whole round, thereby proving that Tanaka will not go quietly into the night.
Tanaka seems more than willing to grapple with Yahya, getting top position and all sorts of unorthodox holds, but Yahya simply goes to his bread and butter of jiu-jitsu, and racks up points with smothering control. A couple times Tanaka has his foe in crucifix and he hammers away – is that enough to give him the round? It’s definitely not enough to give him the fight.
Results: Rani Yahya def. Michinori Tanaka via Unanimous Decision