Adrian Yanez isn’t naive to Brazilian fans wanting him to punish Tony Kelley and he’s embracing the pressure that comes with it.
Yanez will face Kelley in the featured preliminary bout of UFC Austin this Saturday. Yanez is looking to further his climb in the bantamweight division and potentially move closer to a spot in the rankings.
The atmosphere behind the matchup escalated when Kelley was heard making controversial remarks about Brazilians while cornering his teammate Andrea Lee just weeks ago. He referred to them as “dirty Brazilians” after Viviane Araujo poked Lee in the eye.
Now, Yanez has the support of a nation behind him as he gets ready for his matchup with Kelley. But to him, pressure is nothing new for the up-and-coming 135lber out of Houston, TX.
During an exclusive interview with MMA News, Yanez downplayed whether or not the pressure from Brazilian fans will impact his performance.
“Honestly, it plays into my favor with getting more fans and everything, but the gameplan is never changed,” Yanez said. “I still want to go in there, I still want to knock him out. Everything is still the same, but there’s more people that want to see me do it. I think that’s super cool, it sucks the way it happened, but at the same time if I make other fans a lot more happy for that even happening then 100%, come on board. I’m here for it.
“To me, it doesn’t change anything because I love fighting under pressure. It’s fantastic and it brings something else out of you so it brings me more excitement. Performing under pressure…it doesn’t bring any added pressure that I haven’t already put on myself. Everyone else, friends, and family, are in the back of my mind. Because I put the most pressure on myself.
“The comments he made, pretty shitty. Stupid, his downfall ended up being something that a lot of people are now looking at me to knock him out. So it plays into my favor because I was already planning to knock him out. I’m going to satisfy the fans and also be myself, and hopefully get another $50k.”
Yanez is entering his fight with Kelley riding on an eight-fight winning streak, including four straight in the UFC. He earned a shot after a knockout win on Dana White‘s Contender Series in 2020.
Yanez is no stranger to highlight finishes, with knockouts in four of his last six fights. And now, he’s promising something special ahead of his clash with Kelley.
“Like Derrick Lewis says: ‘Houston throws, we swang and bang’, that’s exactly what I’m gonna go do,” Yanez proclaimed. “I’m gonna go out there and knock him out.
“Tony Kelley went out there and said he’s the Louisiana guy from the swamps, well I’m from Houston where we swang and bang…I’m telling you right now, I’m getting that knockout. I’m not gonna search for it, but I know with my style and what he brings, I’m gonna get a knockout and another $50k for me.”
UFC Austin takes place Saturday, June 18, and will be headlined by a featherweight clash between top contenders Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett.