A pair of unranked bantamweights will go at it in a fight before the co-main event. We take a deeper dive on both fighters to see where the edge lies as with our Yahya and Ho Kang picks.
Both Rani Yahya and Kyung Ho Kang come into Saturday off of impressive wins. Yahya’s last victory was a second-round submission over Ray Rodriguez back in March of this year and Ho Kang’s a win back in February of 2019. The pandemic brought a long layoff for Ho Kang after not being allowed in the United States until this past summer. Originally scheduled for July, this fight was pushed until now after Ho Kang tested positive for COVID-19.
Here are my picks and predictions for Saturday’s men’s bantamweight UFC matchup between Yana and Ho Kang (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Yahya vs. Ho Kang Fight Info
Date/Time: Saturday, November 20, 6 p.m. ET (main card)
Location: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, NV
Yahya vs. Ho Kang Odds Analysis
This fight opened as a rare -110 on both sides and has mostly stayed there. Ho Kang has been shaded to -115 in some locations and Yahya -115 in others. As of Wednesday afternoon, Bet MGM offers the best odds on Ho Kang at -105, while FanDuel has Yahya at -105.
The Over/Under has also remained steady since opening, with the Over 2.5 rounds being shaded at -138.
Rani Yahya Betting Profile
What Yahya lacks thus far in UFC accomplishments he possesses in his other pedigrees. A two-time gold medalist at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Yahya’s grappling has earned him 21 of his 27 professional MMA wins for good reason.
Inside the octagon, his metrics tell the same story. His striking leaves much to be desired but his grappling reigns supreme. Coming into Saturday, he’s averaging 2.89 takedowns and 1.99 submissions per 15 minutes.
Kyung Ho Kang Betting Profile
Ho Kang has spent most of his professional career in Asia and is still looking for his first statement win. A Blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Ho Kang also leans on his grappling (65 percent of wins), but more often than not his cardio as his average fight time comes in at over 12 minutes and 30 seconds.
He does hold a one-strike landed per minute edge here over Yahya, at 2.52, but also is absorbing nearly double the strikes at 2.43. While he likely will want to stand and strike with the smaller Yahya here, the verdict is still very much out if he’ll be allowed.
Yahya vs. Ho Kang Betting Picks
Yahya to Win (-105) ★★★
Total Rounds: Over 2.5 (-135) ★
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Yahya vs. Ho Kang Betting Predictions
Yahya to Win (-105)
Oddsmakers likely see in this one a 3” height and 6” reach advantage for Ho Kang. That largely cancels out the pedigree advantage in which Yahya undoubtedly holds. However, it’s hard to put much stock in Ho Kang's limited experience against quality opponents, especially with four of his last six wins coming via split decisions.
While Yahya doesn’t have any eye-popping wins on his mantle either, he does have fights with known guys of UFC caliber, and the added edge of having UFC Apex experience as well.
In a fight that should be as close as oddsmakers expect it to be, I’m giving Yahya enough edges against Ho Kang to take his side and make it our best pick.
Total Rounds: Over 2.5 (-150)
Typically when you see fights that are essentially dead even for both fighters from oddsmakers it’s for good reason. With that said, it doesn’t get any more even from them in this one, as they’re telling us both fighters are about the same.
Looking back over these fighters' last six combined fights, five have gone to the judge’s scorecard. The sole submission came for Ho Kang against Teruto Ishihara, who has lost seven of his last nine fights and is no longer in the UFC.
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Picks made on 11/18/2021 at 6:08 p.m. ET