UFC Vegas 91: Victor Henry Dominates Rani Yahya, Leaves Apex to “Fight Korean Barbecue”

Rani Yahya and Victor Henry, UFC Vegas 91
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 27: (L-R) Victor Henry punches Rani Yahya of Brazil in a bantamweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on April 27, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The featured prelim of UFC Vegas 91 between bantamweights, BJJ black belt Rani Yahya and sparkplug Victor Henry, was the best performance on this preliminary card.

Victor Henry won, showcasing the skills that let him defeat the underrated and dangerous Raoni Barcelos. Just like against Barcelos, his pace, cardio, and smooth striking overwhelmed an older opponent in Henry’s UFC debut. However, Raoni was not as old as Rani Yahya, who turned thirty-nine in January. The longtime UFC veteran and former ADCC silver medalist had made a career with his jiu-jitsu skills, going 13-5 in the promotion before he met Victor Henry. Perhaps his age caught up with him, or perhaps Victor Henry is just that good, or perhaps both.

Henry started by hardly throwing a shot, circling Yahya from the outside and seemingly getting his reads. His first committed punch was a left hook that staggered Rani momentarily, but he did not go after him as the veteran’s recoverability saves him. Yahya constantly kicked to begin, then faked a kick to a level change to get to a leg and get Victor’s back when he turned away. He tried to jump on the back but Henry was immediately able to turn and get his shoulders around to force a clinch, then break away.

The same thing happened again and Yahya had more success but this time when Henry scrambled up he held Rani against the fence for a while, not breaking to strike. He worked the body with knees and then let go and stalked Yahya as he circled the cage. The final twenty seconds of the round he was finally able to corner the vet and do some solid damage to him in a flurry before the horn.

After some technical advice between rounds from Henry’s coach, former UFC heavyweight contender Josh Barnett, Henry was more consistently aggressive in the second round. His twitchy, high-volume style began to overwhelm Yahya somewhat on the feet, though the Brazilian had good defense. His first takedown was stuffed easily, and his second was stuffed with only slightly more difficulty. After the secoind one Henry landed a combination which knocked the mouthpiece of Yahya out, but the black belt stayed durable as ever. Henry’s targeting of the body with kicks began to really wear out the much older fighter; he looked great and was clearly feeling the throw by the end of the round with dominance and high amounts of damage.

In the final minute Henry overwhelmed Yahya so much that he earned a knockdown, as Rani fell to his knees against the cage. The bout looked like it might be stopped but Yahya moved just enough to stay in it as Henry tried to punch him for about forty straight seconds at the end of the round.

The final round began with Rani clearly not done yet. He tried everything, even rolling for a leg lock. However the wrestling and grappling experience of Henry is not insignificant, so he was able to free his leg and land ground strikes. He decided to then let Rani up. On the feet, Henry immediately knocked his foe down. He again tried to close the fight out with ground and pound, getting closer than ever before.

Still, Yahya did just enough to survive. But he was completely gassed and a long flurry against the fence, with a head kick included, Jason Herzog stopped the fight. Rani Yahya did not go down then, showing the toughness that helped him become a legend, but he could just no longer mount enough of a defense to make the fight worth fighting anymore.

His post-fight interview displayed a smart and aware fighter, one who is now on the track towards the top-15 once again and is ready to fight anyone. However, he says he must first, “Fight some Korean BBQ.”

Official Result: Victor Henry def. Rani Yahya by TKO (head kick and punches), Round 3, 2:36