Round 1: The fighters touch gloves. Yahya opens with an outside leg kick. He delivers another. Yahya changes levels and takes Niinimaki down. Niinimaki reverses him. Yahya isolates a leg. Niinimaki avoids the leg attack. Yahya again isolates a leg. Yahya uses it to reverse Niinimaki. Niinimaki lands elbows to the body. Yahya transitions and takes Niinimaki’s back. Niinimaki escapes and takes Yahya down. Yahya scrambles but Niinimaki stays with him. He delivers hammer fists. The round ends. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Niinimaki,
Round 2: Niinimaki moves forward. Yahya lands an outside leg kick. Yahya lands a right hand. They clinch. Yahya presses Niinimaki against the cage. Niinimaki turns him and works to get the fight to the ground. He does. Yahya works for a guillotine choke. He reverses Niinimaki. Niinimaki counters and reverses Yahya back, landing in side control. He delivers short elbows. Yahya works his way back to half guard. Referee Kim Winslow stands the fighters up. Niinimaki lands a push kick to the body of Yahya. Yahya applies a guillotine choke and pulls guard to lock it in. Niinimaki gets his head out and lands a left hand. He stands and drops back down into Yahya’s guard. The round ends. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Niinimaki.
Round 3: Niinimaki immediately puts Yahya on his back and lands in side control. Yahya gets back to half guard. Niinimaki delivers knees to the body. Yahya hangs on from the bottom while Niinimaki works to pass Yahya’s guard. The referee stands them up. Yahya lands a combination. Niinimaki changes levels and takes Yahya down. Yahya works for a gullotine choke and gains top position. Niinimaki defends the choke. A minute remains in the round. Yahya lands short elbows. Yahya looks for an arm but gives it up. The round ends with Yahya on top. MMAWeekly scores the round 10-9 for Niinimaki.
The judges score the fight for Niinimaki by split decision. The scorecards read 29-28, 28-29 and 30-27.
“I thought I won the fight”
“I was supposed to do more boxing and kicking but my grappling was surprisingly good. The positions were tight so I couldn’t give Rani any space, perhaps that is why the referee stood us up. Going into this fight, there was a lot of pressure, but after the first round I had my confidence and did well.”