Fast rising Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight Adrian Yanez returns to action on July 24 at UFC Vegas 32. On that night, he faces fellow highly touted prospect Randy Costa. In this battle of pressure fighters, Houston’s Yanez doesn’t expect to be the one to back up first.
Adrian Yanez ready for a ‘king of the hill’ battle against Randy Costa
Yanez, 27, has had a memorable 11-months. On an August 2020 edition of Dana White’s Contender Series, he earned a UFC contract with a first round technical knockout. Then followed that up with two more KOs as an official member of the roster. His pressure style has overwhelmed opponents during his current six-fight win streak. His upcoming opponent Costa, has also earned a similar reputation in winning six of his first seven pro fights.
In a clash of two fighters who prefer to take the center of the cage, something has to give. Either Yanez or Costa will have to decide backing up may be the better part of valour. However, while Yanez believes in his skills as a tactical counter fighter on his back foot, he feels his DNA is to always push forward.
“I can definitely fight on the back foot, and I see things that I like when he’s being super aggressive. But my game plan is one of those that I don’t like taking steps back. I don’t like feeling like I’m walking backwards. I’d rather cut the angle, but honestly, it is probably going to end up being one of those [fights] that he’s going to have to be the one that takes the step back,” Yanez told MixedMartialArts.com.
“Because I don’t want to take a step back. I want to control the center, and when I control the center I’m not giving it up. It’s like king of the hill for me. Like, no, that’s my center of the cage and it’s not going to be anybody else’s but [mine].”
The pre-fight between these two twenty-somethings has been competitive and friendly. In what many are billing as the battle of Dr. Pepper versus Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The favorite diet cheats for Yanez and Costa, respectively. Both men have publicly stated how they respect the other. And that’s why Yanez is preparing for a “king of the hill” fight, because he knows the pair are talents not looking to give an inch.
“The biggest thing that makes him stand out from [other oopnents], is once he takes that center of the Octagon, he doesn’t want to take a step back,” says Yanez. “He wants to go out there an be explosive the whole entire time. And he wants to knock your head off, even if he gets tired. He’s just constantly trying to press forward, trying to throw some heavy leather. He has a lot of talent.”
Adrian Yanez on the influences of Julio Cesar Chavez, Anderson Silva, Jorge Masvidal
In just three fights in the Octagon, Yanez has earned great acclaim for his striking skills. In particular, his boxing, which has been compared to welterweight star Jorge Masvidal by several in the know, including current bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling. The Texan has had many influences in the style he has evolved over a 10-year run in the sport. However, the most influential include and legendary Mexican boxer, a former UFC middleweight great, and the aforementioned “Street Jesus.”
“I actually used to watch Julio Cesar Chavez highlights growing up, and actually watching him before I go out and fight. Because I absolutely love that style of walking forward, punch, and all of a sudden they’re throwing something and you counter. I’ve always appreciated that style,” said Yanez. “I love the come forward style and being able to push the pace and dig deep whenever you have to. I would say I’m closely trying to emulate what he’s done, but mixing it over to MMA.
“Another great inspiration was Anderson Silva. Watching him at a younger age, and seeing what he did was like, man, I really loved how he made people miss and made it spectacular. Also too, whenever I started watching a little bit more of Jorge Masvidal–after the Al Iaquinta fight–I started noticing this guy has really good hands, really good movement, nothing’s wasted. So I can see all the inspirations of how I try to fight.”
In the full interview with MixedMartialArts.com, the talented 135-pounder also spoke on his life-changing last year, and why he is obsessed with drinking Dr. Pepper before and after fights.