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Adrian Yanez ‘I Absolutely Need a Knockout’ vs. Tony Kelley In Front of Texas Fans

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Adrian Yanez (15-3 MMA, 4-0 UFC) will look to remain undefeated in the UFC when he takes on Tony Kelley (8-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at UFC Austin on June 18.

Yanez, whose home state is Texas, is calling a fan-friendly fight for the hometown crowd. While Yanez knows a win over Kelley likely won’t propel him into the bantamweight top-15, he believes the fans in the arena and watching at home will enjoy the bout.

“His style is to come forward. My style is that I love to throw a lot of punches in bunches,” Yanez told MMASucka. “I love knocking people out. My favorite part of fighting is knocking the person out. I think it’s a fun fight overall. The fans are going to be really excited about it. To me, it will be that much more fun on my end, just because I know the fans are going to be pretty excited.”

Yanez will be competing in front of his home crowd in Texas for the first time since LFA 78 in November 2019 – his last fight before he got the call to compete in Dana White‘s Contender Series.

Since entering the UFC, Yanez has rattled off four straight wins, including T/KOs over Victor Rodriguez, Gustavo Lopez and Randy Costa. All four of his fights have been in the UFC APEX in front of next-to-no crowds.

Yanez, set to fight in front of a crowd for the first time in his UFC career, believes he won’t let the pressure get to him, as he got a taste of a UFC crowd when he cornered a former training partner at a card in Houston.

“I’m really, really excited to fight because I’m always going to fight to the best of my abilities,” Yanez said. “I don’t feel like a crowd will make a difference. I know myself. If I hear the crowd getting the ‘woo’s’ and the chants and all that stuff, and if I hit the guy, and everyone is like ‘ooh,’ of course it’ll make me want to pounce on the guy more. I love to entertain the fans and going for the knockout. I absolutely need a knockout in front of the fans. My last four fights, they should’ve been in front of fans, because they were those types of performances. My style is fan-friendly. It’s going to be so cool to fight in front of them.”

Yanez said being able to fight in front of a Texas crowd is like coming full circle, as he fought in front of Texans throughout his regional circuit days.

“It’s super cool to be a part of it. To have my homecoming to Texas be on the biggest stage of my career. Just being able to fight on the undercard of Calvin Kattar vs. Josh Emmett, I think that’s a banger of a fight, too. Also, too, a lot of my family is going to be there. My son’s going to be in attendance. I have a whole little family to look forward to this weekend, too. It’s just amazing. I’m super happy. I’m super excited. I couldn’t dream of it to be placed better.”

Yanez will hope to start a new knockout streak after his run of three straight T/KOs in the UFC was snapped in a split decision win over Davey Grant. Yanez believes he should have never let the judges render their scorecards in that contest.

“I know one judge scored it 30-27 for Davey Grant,” Yanez said. “I don’t know what that guy was watching, but at the same time, I should have never have let it get to that point. I should have dominated from bell-to-bell every single round. Man, just getting the knockout itself cancels out all the judges whatsoever. Instead of being robbed by the judges, I want to rob the judges of actually doing their job.”

Yanez will look to keep it out of the judges’ hands against Kelley, which would make his new Brazilian fans happy. Kelley drew the nation’s ire when he said Brazilians are “gonna f—king cheat like that” while cornering Andrea Lee in her recent bout against Viviane Araujo.

“That’s what they’re gonna do, they’re dirty f—king Brazilians,” Kelley said in the corner. “They’re gonna f—king cheat like that. Guess what? We came to f—k somebody up.”

Yanez said Kelley’s comments were “pretty stupid.”

“Honestly, it was an idiotic comment,” Yanez said. “In the heat of battle, you say what you say. But also, his response to why he said it and trying to point the fingers at everybody else instead of just actually apologizing, to me is kind of stupid. He could have made it a lot more easier on himself and been like, ‘Hey, I apologize. Heat of the battle, I’m sorry.’ He could’ve just been like, ‘Hey, I apologize.’ But he took the other route, was unapologetic, pointed the finger at everybody else.”

Yanez doesn’t mind the influx of new fans because of comments that his next opponent made.

“[Kelley] did something stupid, and I gained fans from it. To me, that’s pretty cool,” Yanez said. “I didn’t have to do anything. He did all the work for me, so that’s cool.”

Yanez said the new Brazilian fanbase does not add any pressure to his upcoming contest with Kelley.

“I still want to do the same thing I wanted to do whenever I signed that contract, and that’s knock him out. If it makes the whole country of Brazil so happy to see him get knocked out, then hey, it kills two birds with one stone. To me, it’s cool. It will be real cool when I knock him out and gain a whole bunch more fans whenever Brazilians see, ‘Hey, I knocked this guy out.’ Just to be like, ‘Hey, he got knocked out. He said this about y’all,’ and I gain new fans. So I think that would be pretty cool. The mission has been the same since I signed the contract, which is to knock him out. So it’s going to be cool.”

Yanez and Kelley have a common opponent in Randy Costa, who both finished via strikes. Yanez noted Costa fought Kelley differently than Costa fought him.

“Tony Kelley took a page of like, ‘Oh, if I put the pressure on him, immediately, I can tire him out and kind of wear him down.’ Me, I did it strategically, as Tony Kelley was a marauder and went through him. I feel like if Randy came out the way he came out against me, he would’ve had a lot better success on the front end instead of trying to be a lot more reserved, and it ended up costing him in that fight. Tony kept the pace up.”

Yanez did see some holes in Kelley’s game he would like to expose when they square off.

 “It’s going to be a fun fight, but I definitely do see a lot of holes that I’ll be able to pick apart and put a stop to him,” Yanez said.

Yanez predicts a second-round knockout over Kelley.

“He’s going to come out tough, he’s going to come out strong. But as I always do, I’ll figure it out, and I’m going to knock him out.”

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Michael is a big MMA fan who enjoys interviewing the sport's athletes, writing about the sport, and just discussing it. He earned his Master's in Journalism at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and his B.A. in Journalism at Stony Brook University. He also enjoys hockey, football and baseball. Feel free to hit him up if you want to discuss MMA, or any other sport!

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