Adrian Yanez did many people a favor when he iced Tony Kelley via first-round TKO at UFC Austin earlier this month (highlights HERE).
Coming into the fight there was a lot of animosity shared between the two bantamweight fighters mostly due to Kelley. The Team Alpha Male fighter had made some racist comments this past May while cornering his girlfriend, Andrea Lee, and the aftermath carried over into the buildup to Kelley’s fight with Yanez at UFC Austin. Almost everyone around the MMA community was calling on Yanez to dish out some Octagon justice and put Kelley in his place.
Surprisingly, Yanez has revealed that even some of the UFC staff were telling him to destroy Kelley inside of the cage for his racially-charged remarks last month. It’s not something you hear too often within the biggest MMA promotion in the world, but it goes to show how many people were pulling for Yanez to put a beating on Kelley.
“It’s an awesome moment for me,” Yanez told The AllStar. “Man, that was a lot of emotion. That was a lot of raw emotion, of me just wanting to f*** that guy up, man. I don’t like that guy. I genuinely don’t like that guy, man. Not even just because of the comments he said, but stuff leading up, and I heard a lot of stuff about him. It’s a different thing whenever I’m going through the hallways and the UFC staff is telling me to f*** him up.
“That was the first guy I’ve had [people] be like, ‘F*** that guy up. Beat the s*** out of him.’ And there’s been so many thank yous after me whooping him that everybody’s like, ‘Thank you, man, f***.’ Those are the nicest people in the world, too, man, so it means a little bit more. It was a little bit more satisfying.”
Yanez, who commanded majority of the exchanges before finishing Kelley with just over one minute left in the fight, is open to a potential rematch. Kelley had never been finished before in his professional career and remains one of the tougher fighters in the 135-pound division. He may not deserve an immediate rematch, but Kelley has done a lot of talking after the loss to goad Yanez into another meeting.
“Right now he’s trying to talk s*** to me, he’s trying to goad me out into getting a rematch and I just told my managers, bro, if they are about making that rematch, I would 100 percent take it because I don’t mind another bonus at all,” Yanez said. “He’s talking s*** so I’m happy about it, man. I’m under his skin even after the fight.
“He talked s*** at the ceremonial weigh-ins, he talked s*** like right after we were backstage and he got mad when I told him I’m gonna knock him out, he walked off and all that stuff. Even during the fight, he was starting to talk s***. Hit him with the check hook, he stopped talking (laughs). Then I stopped him and even then afterward, now, he’s still talking. Of course, you’re still talking, I took your money, I KO’d you and now you’re a meme (laughs). Of course, you’re gonna talk, you’re pissed off.”
Yanez, 28, moved to 5-0 in the UFC with his TKO finish over Kelley. He’s one of the most promising young contenders on the UFC roster today and just broke into the bantamweight top 15 earlier this week. It may be wise for Yanez to put Kelley in the rearview and worry about bigger and better competition down the road.