This past weekends UFC card was a spectacular one. A lot would say the best card of the year so far! UFC London being close to home and heart, would take it for me, personally. But this card was something else. It was fireworks from start to finish. Setting a record breaking 9 finishes out of 13 fights! I bet Dana White was salivating from the side lines after each head bounced off the canvas towards the record score.
But who stood out, of a stand out card? Only one man keeps popping into my head. His name?
Adrian original saw himself on the Preliminary Card this weekend but after Joe Lauzon pulled out of his fight with Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone on the day of the fight. Yanez and his opponent Tony Kelley (8-3) (who also missed weight) were moved up to the Main Card, opening up the show.
If you hadn’t heard of Adrian Yanez before this fight, you may have heard of his opponent, Tony Kelley. Probably for the wrong reasons too. He was caught in between rounds whilst cornering Andrea Lea at UFC on ESPN: Blachowicz vs Rakic saying “that’s what they’re going to do, they’re dirty f*****g dirty Brazilians, they’re going to f*****g cheat”. Referring to Lea’s opponent Viviane Araujo. The comments sparked debate and disgust amongst the online MMA community. Maybe a plus side for Yanez as it added eyes to his fight and people wanting to see Kelley beat for his derogatory words towards Brazilians.
As ring announcer Joe Martinez introduced both fighters it became apparent the huge discrepancy in popularity between the hometown hero Yanez and self proclaimed cancel culture victim Kelley.
Yanez, confident from the offset, scored a TKO just 3 minutes and 49 seconds in to the very first round.
So where did Adrian Yanez come from? When and where did the 28 year old Texan native arrive on our radars?
Yanez went 10-3 on the professional regional circuit around Texas, fighting for organisations like Bellator, Fury FC and even challenged for the LFA Bantamweight title before earning a shot on Dana White’s Contender Series. He’d need just 39 seconds on that series to finish his opponent and earn a UFC Contract. This is where we saw the start of Adrian Yanez.
Why is Adrian a star?
Since his successful outing on Dana White’s Contender Series Yanez has fought 5 times for the UFC. Earning 4 finishes with his striking prowess and also earning either a Performance of Night bonus or Fight of thr Night bonus in each of them 5 outings.
5 fights. 5 performance bonuses. 4 finishes. Not even ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor can make claim to that.
At 28 years old, he is still coming into his prime. The likes of Pound for Pound Ruler Kamaru Usman had just 2 fights in the UFC at 28 and is arguably in his fighting prime at 35 years old.
He has the ‘IT’ factor. It’s ard to describe just what this is, but Adrian has it. Maybe it’s his fluid boxing, or the fact he looks like a Pettis brother. Maybe it’s the fact he’s just insanely good at fighting. He talks the talk and he walks the walk.
He’s just broken in to the top 15 of one of the most popular and stacked divisions. It always helps a fighter gain popularity and get an air around them if they are fighting in a deep and comprehensive division, like Bantamweight, which Yanez is. There are some very attractive stylistic match ups for him now he’s ranked. Which will only get fans talking.
Truth be told, like any and every UFC rising star. Conor, Khamzat, Adesayna, they all needed to be tested to show the hype is real. I am sold on Yanez but for the majority to get on board he’ll need to fight a higher ranked opponent and win convincingly, just as he has been doing.
The future is bright for Adrian and he is on track to be a face of the UFC.