On this weeks edition of ‘Making their mark’ we look at former Bellator and Contender Series alumni Adrian Yanez. The young bantamweight contender, often compared to Jorge Masvidal, has huge potential and could become a major player in the stacked UFC 135 lbs division.
Career so far
Yanez (11-3) ended a hugely successful amateur career with four consecutive TKO’s, turning over to the pro game with a perfect 6-0 record. His professional debut came in March of 2014 at just 20 years old, and ended in the same way most of his amateur fights had, with Yanez victorious by TKO. He suffered his first defeat in his very next bout, having no answer for the wrestling and ground and pound of Levi Mowles, losing via unanimous decision. The Texan recovered with two victories in Fury FC, and then won his Bellator debut on the preliminary card of Royce Gracie’s win over long time rival Ken Shamrock in 2016. Yanez then dropped a razor thin split decision to current UFC bantamweight Domingo Pilarte in a fight that could’ve gone either way in his first fight for the newly formed LFA promotion. Two more wins for the company earnt him a shot at the vacant bantamweight belt against another current UFC fighter in Miles Johns, and yet again Yanez was on the wrong end of a close split decision loss. Two stoppage wins over Warren Stewart and Michael Rodriguez and then a career best win over fellow prospect Kyle Estrada led to the 26 year old finally getting a chance at the big time, featuring on the second week of Dana White’s Contender Series. Yanez finally put everything together, showcasing his superb boxing in a 40 second master class TKO over the dangerous Brady Huang, earning a UFC contract in the process.
Having followed his father, a Golden Gloves winner, into boxing from a young age, Yanez later took up BJJ where he holds a brown belt. Much of this boxing background is still present in his game, often pressing his opponents back with calculated pressure whilst looking for devastating counters. One particularly impressive aspect of Yanez’s game is his patience on the feet, never rushing his work instead remaining relaxed and composed whilst waiting for an opening. This married with his superb boxing fundamentals of hand speed, movement and impressive use of angles makes Yanez a menace to deal with on the feet. On the ground Yanez has credentials on the mat and two submissions to his name, but his real strengths lie in standup. one area that has often been an issue is his takedown defence, displayed in his first professional loss to Levi Mowles, Yanez was simply powerless to resist the takedown and spent much of the last two rounds being pounded on on the bottom. While he has greatly improved this area of his game, as can be seen by his contest with strong wrestler Miles Johns, it is still perhaps the main weak point of an otherwise well rounded arsenal.
The 26 year old was originally scheduled to face Aaron Phillips (0-3 in the UFC) who most recently was submitted in the second round by another hot prospect in Jack Shore, however Phillips withdrew citing an undisclosed injury. In his place steps fellow debutant Victor Rodriguez (7-2) a 28 year old hailing from Soldotna, Alaska. Last competing in February of this year, Rodriguez picked up the Alaska FC bantamweight title with a win over Jared Mazurek, and having only fought on the Alaskan regional scene thus far into his career, will surely relish his chance fighting for the sports premier promotion. Having stopped all his opponents to date with strikes, this one should be an entertaining fire fight for however long it lasts.