In what will be the third iteration of Saturday’s co-main event, Kyung Ho Kang will square off against Rani Yahya in a three-round bantamweight fight as both fighters get their highest-profile opportunity to date. First scheduled to be Niklas Stolze vs. Mounir Lazzez before Lazzez’s visa issues forced a cancellation, Shamil Abdurakhimov and Chris Daukaus were slated to step in before being postponed again.
Which of these currently unranked bantamweights will rise to the occasion in the biggest fight of their career?
Let’s take a closer look.
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Kyung Ho Kang
Betting Profile: Kyung Ho Kang (17-8-0)
Last Five Fights
Since returning to the sport after serving his two-year mandatory military service for South Korea, ending in January 2018, Kang has been on a run that has seen him go 4-1, with his only loss coming via split decision. A blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Kang is a grappling specialist, with 65% of his wins coming via submission.
While his opponent is of equal grappling pedigree, Kang comes into this one holding advantages across the board in striking at 2.39 (vs. 1.57) strikes landed per minute, with 42% (vs. 37%) being significant. He also holds the edge in the art of the takedown, with a 66% (vs. 33) accuracy clip and a staggering 75% (vs. 24%) defense.
Betting Profile: Rani Yahya (27-10-1)
Last Five Fights
For Rani Yahya, one of his biggest issues was a lack of consistency from a lack of fighting, averaging just one fight per year since 2018 in a constantly evolving game. A 2nd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who is also a black belt in Muy Thai, Yahya relies heavily on his grappling as 78% of his wins and 56% of his total fights have gone by way of submissions.
He does hold slight advantages vs. Kang in takedowns per 15 minutes at 2.89 (vs. 29), as well as submission average per 15 minutes (1.99 vs. 1.33), but neither is significant enough to give him an edge as I see it in this one.
With Kang, it’s difficult to know just how much further along he’d be without the 2.5-year layoff, but I have to think he’d be ranked at this point. With advantage, some significant, in all of the metrics I look at combined with a strength of opponent that I see as higher as well, I think this one is mispriced, and we’re getting value on Kang, even as a slight favorite.
Pick: Kyung Ho Kang +110
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