Rani Yahya was a jiu-jitsu stud from the WEC days who never quite found his legs among the Octagon elite. Joe Soto was a late-replacement who fought – and lost – to TJ Dillashaw for the UFC belt. Put them together and what do you get?
Someone has convinced Yahya that he can strike, because he opens the fight by pursuing Soto with punches with all kinds of reckless abandon. Soto covers up at first, emboldening his foe, but in no time he’s timing an overhand right that literally knocks Yahya off his feet. That gives Yahya some pause, and when Soto lands another overhand right, the Brazilian realizes he must fight a tad smarter.
A clash of heads in Round 2 has Soto bleeding like a stuck pig, and soon both men are absolutely drenched in red sauce. But despite losing all that blood (and the oxygen it carries), Soto seems to have a far better gas tank, and he ends up out-striking Yahya, dodging nearly every slow-motion takedown attempt, and outmaneuvering him on the ground. The final horn sounds with exhaustion hanging over these men like shrouds.
Results: Joe Soto def. Rani Yahya via Unanimous Decision