Rani Yahya def. Mike Brown via unanimous decision, photo by Tracey Lee for Yahoo! Sports
Mike Brown needed a win at a minimum against Rani Yahya to remain in the UFC and more likely, an impressive win. Yahya was facing stakes no less dire. Both needed to look excellent in order to remain employed with the UFC.
Brown immediately took center of the cage and stalked the Brazilian early. A glancing blow in the first minute briefly rocked Yahya, but he was able to recover. Yahya attempted a cradle and in the ensuing scramble, Brown tried to use the cage to get back to his feet. Unable to do so at the halfway point of the first, Yahya moved to Brown's full guard. As Brown tried to stand Yahya attempted a guillotine, but it went nowhere. Yahya, though, was able to drag Brown back to the mat. The Brazilian was able to get to Brown's back, although Brown saved himself from any truly threatening submissions by keeping control of Yahya's right wrist.
The second round started with Brown rushing position again and tagging Yahya. Yahya attempted to lock up a guillotine grip standing, but Brown patiently cleared his head before taking Yahya to the mount. Yahya was able to create space and nearly swept Brown, but the scramble allowed the fighters to separate after a brief engagement in the clinch. After a weak leg attack from Yahya, Brown attempted a Shultz front headlock on Yahya, but the round ended before anything could be secured. The fight was essentially even at this point.
Yahya opened the round charging Mike Brown looking for a takedown against the fence. Yahya was able to work through double underhooks to ultimately use a single leg to put the American on the mat, there working from half guard. In attempting to wall walk, Yahya was able to take Brown's back with a body triangle. Launching strikes from Brown's back, Yahya pounded until referee Mario Yamasaki warned the Brazilian about punching the back of the head. Brown was able to work a tightwaist from a failed takedown attempt, but Yahya reversed position just before the round ended.
The judges scored this bout 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 for Rani Yahya.