Rani Yahya is a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter who specializes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The famous BJJ’er who is also a former champion in one of the most prestigious competitions in Grappling, the ADCC (2007) has fought in the biggest MMA shows of our times such as the now extinct WEC, Jungle Fight and the UFC.
Rani Yahya in Detail
Main Grappling Achievements (in BJJ/Grappling):
- ADCC Champion (2007);
- World Jiu Jitsu Champion (Purple Belt 2002);
- ADCC Silver Medalist (2005)
Weight Division: Peso Pena (70kg) – Banta weight in MMA.
Favorite technique: Mata Leao (RNC).
Affiliation/Team in BJJ: Athaide Jiu Jitsu.
Rani Yahya Biography
Rani was born in September 12th 1984 in Brazilia, the Capital of Brazil. His first approach to Martial Arts came from Judo, a discipline his parents wanted him to take. When he was 11 years old, because of all the hype envolving Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the time, he asked his parents to enrol him in BJJ. His parent’s agreed, and so started Rani’s career with BJJ.
Rani was the world’s youngest world champion ever when he won the Mundial (juvenile category, Blue Belt) at the age of 14. This is according to his interview to Tatame Magazine in 29ht May 2007. When Rani was 17 he won the World Championships again, in the “Roxa” division (Purple belt) and the following year he received the brown belt from his master, Athaide Junior, the man who stood beside Rani for most of his career.
By the time Yahya won his brown belt, all his focus was already on MMA and No Gi competition, having won his first fight in MMA 2 days after turning 18 years of age. In 2003, Rani made it to the big stage of Grappling tournaments, the ADCC finals. He achieved lost in the Quarter Finals of the event to Leonardo Vieira, and the battles between Leo Vieira and Rany would be one of the tournament’s high points in years to follow, as in 2005 and 2007 the two Brazilians clashed again, with split results, the 2005 bout going to Leozinho Vieira in a very tough fight which had to be decided in the overtime, and the 2007 fight going to Rany Yahya.
In an interview to the Brazilian Press at the end of 2007 (after his submission victory over Leo Vieira at the ADCC), Rany stated that much of his strangle hold’s techniques came from the teachings of his Master Athaide and his study of the snakes. Athaide is a Biologist specialized in snake behaviour and he bases alot of his techniques on the way he sees snakes acting when straggling their preys.
After being introduced in 2004 to Rickson Gracie by a friend in common, the Gracie invited Rani to go and train at his academy in California. Accepting the invitation Yahya spent most of a year with the Jiu Jitsu legend polishing his techniques. In an interview to “Terramagazine” in 2009 he also stated that in his time with Rickson he learned some good nutrition tips that helped his overall life quality.
In trying to improve his overall game for MMA, Rani has travelled around the world looking for the best people to train with him. Amongst those people UFC Champion Randi Couture, Pride Champ Dan Henderson, Jiu Jitsu Legend Rickson Gracie, BJJ World Champions Champion Saulo and Xande Ribeiro and many others.
Kazua Yasuhiro vs Rani Yahya
Joel Tudor vs Rani Yahya 2009 BJJ US Nationals
Rani Yahya vs Carlos Vieira