AUSTIN, Texas – Adrian Yanez’s disdain for Tony Kelley only intensified after sharing the octagon with him at UFC on ESPN 37.
Yanez (16-3 MMA, 5-0 UFC) had all the pressure on him going into Saturday’s bantamweight matchup after Kelley (7-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC) positioned himself as the villain following his controversial comments about Brazilians while working the corner of his girlfriend, Andrea Lee, earlier this year.
Many were hoping Yanez would give Kelley his comeuppance inside the octagon with a violent finish, and he delivered with a first-round knockout win to remain undefeated inside the octagon.
If Yanez didn’t have enough motivation to get the win coming into the cage, Kelley added fuel to the fire by missing weight then subsequently talking trash during the fight before getting dropped and stopped.
“He was talking to me in the cage. He was like, ‘You keep bringing up that stuff from Brazil, bro. You’re talking all that sh * t, ‘”Yanez told MMA Junkie and other media post-fight at UFC on ESPN 37.“ Like, I can’t control what (the media) asks me. If y’all ask me, I’m going to say what I feel. I’m not going to hold back my opinion. At the same time, it’s not me putting up the headlines of, say, what a random MMA website puts up. Like ‘Adrian wants to knock him out for bigotry.’ If you actually listen to what I said in those interviews, I said a bunch of Brazilian fans would love for me to knock him out because of what he said, and that was a little bigotry.
“There was just an extra added thing to it whenever I was fighting him. In the middle, when he talked a little bit more sh * t, I was like, ‘Oh, now I really don’t like him.’ I can get being in that competitive spot and finding something to bump yourself up, but he talked sh * t and I felt like I kept everything pretty cordial, and next thing you know he started calling me a wish version of (Jorge) Masvidal. Now he wishes he didn’t say that. ”
Yanez said the fact Kelley was chirping him all along the way has him feeling like “there’s still some animosity” between them. He said outright that he still doesn’t like Kelley, but he shined in the important moment and is ready to move on with his career.
What he’s moving on to exactly, though, Yanez said he doesn’t know. He’s open to all challenges at 135 pounds as he continues to climb the rankings.
“Honestly, whoever,” Yanez said. “I really don’t care at this point. I fought guys that called me out. Then there are guys that called me out and a lot of us weren’t worked at the time, and next thing you know they all get booked and they were calling me out and I didn’t have a fight booked. The only person was Tony Kelley, so props to him for that. But other than that, no love for that guy. ”