After spending the last few years on the cusp of stepping up to the UFC but not making the move, bantamweight Adrian Yanez was finally able to do just that with a win over Brady Huang at Contender Series 2020 on Aug. 11, earning a UFC contract.
By finishing Haung in just 39 seconds, Yanez had exactly the kind of performance he was hoping for entering into the fight.
“It felt like it went phenomenal,” Yanez told MMAWeekly.com. “I was in the zone. I went out there and implemented every drill that I had did over this camp.
“I didn’t want to throw any single pot shots, (like I) sometimes get caught up doing. I wanted to throw full combinations. I wanted to do everything I worked on this training camp. I went out and put a stop to a tough opponent. It went really well for me. I’m still on cloud nine. It’s been an awesome week.”
Though the fight itself went smoothly, Yanez admits that fighting without a crowd during the age of coronavirus was an adjustment.
“It was very weird fighting with no crowd or anything like that, but also I felt pretty comfortable,” said Yanez. “We had to take more precautions due to Covid-19 and everything, but we were super safe, everything was right, every precaution was the right precaution.
“But as far of the weirdness of it, it was pretty weird, because I’m used to seeing everybody and seeing a lot of people, and to see it slimmed down to almost none was a little weird. It worked out well in my favor.”
Earning a UFC contract after years of being so close to getting one but not doing so was a very cathartic moment for Yanez followed by a bit of disbelief, then the realization that things only get harder from here.
“Immediately after the fight, it wasn’t shown on ESPN, I immediately collapsed on my back,” Yanez said. “I was on cloud nine. I reached my goal that I’d been reaching for, for a very long time.
“Going back to the press conference, looking at the microphone it had the UFC logo on it, and I was just so taken away. But at the same time there’s a whole other mountain I need to climb. I feel like it’s settled in, and I’m kicking into a different gear now because I’m ready to go and ready to get back in there and prove myself.”
Having come out of his bout relatively unscathed, Yanez is more than willing to step back into the Octagon sooner than later if need be and close out his 2020 on a hot streak.
“We’re trying to line something up right now,” said Yanez. “There might be something soon. But at the same time I’m staying ready in case somebody drops out.
“If I can take a full camp and fight eight weeks from now, that’s fine too. But I’m ready 100 percent to go. I took no injuries in that fight. I’m ready to get back in there. Two weeks from now or eight weeks from now I’m ready to go in there and showcase my skills again.”
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(Video courtesy of UFC)