So much for Tony Kelley getting his rematch with Adrian Yanez.
UFC Austin last month (June 18, 2022) provided about as many highlights and memories as a mixed martial arts (MMA) event possibly can. Dead-center amid the action was a grudge match between Bantamweight hopefuls, Yanez and Kelley.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go Kelley’s way as he found himself on the receiving end of a brutal first round knockout loss (watch highlights). To make matters even worse for the 35-year-old, MMA Fighting confirmed today (Thurs., July 7, 2022) that Kelley is no longer a part of UFC’s roster. The loss was only Kelley’s (8-3 overall) second in the promotion and snapped a two-fight win streak.
The bad blood between both fighters — and most with Kelley — stemmed from some controversial comments made by Kelley when cornering his girlfriend, UFC Flyweight Andrea Lee, in her last fight against Viviane Araujo in May 2022. In between rounds, Kelley highlighted Araujo’s alleged eye-poking calling her a “dirty Brazilian.” As a result, essentially every Brazilian in MMA turned on the American, cheering for Yanez to get the knockout ahead of their bout.
Despite the clear nature of the loss, Kelley wasn’t done talking afterward. Cordial in the cage, Kelley shortly after took to social media with hopes of a rematch saying, “he don’t wanna see me again and he knows it.”
Yanez highlighted after the fight how he got some interesting support during fight week.
“It’s an awesome moment for me,” Yanez told The AllStar after the fight (h/t MMA Fighting). “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,” he added. “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.”