Adrian Yanez has made himself seen in his first two bouts inside of the Apex. His Contender Series fight saw him put a beating on Brady Huang that ended in just 39 seconds. He followed up that fight with a nasty head kick KO against Victor Rodriguez in his UFC debut. After two such performances, there are few out there that are doubting the power of Yanez.
However, if you take a trip down memory lane with Yanez, he points out that his background isn’t in boxing, kickboxing or any other striking art. In fact, his first foray into martial arts came with the gentlest of them.
“I started off in jiu jitsu. That was the first thing that I ever learned,” said Yanez, now a black belt in the gi. “I got my purple belt before I even considered myself a novice in striking.”
And the pace of which he picked up his first grappling art was quite fast. Some of that was due to the amount of time he was putting into jiu jitsu and jiu jitsu alone. However, some of it was also because, even to this day, he prides himself in his jiu jitsu skills.
“I got my purple belt within two years; I was accelerated pretty fast. I was learning a lot because that’s what consumed my life for about two and a half years before I did any kind of kickboxing,” he shared. “I pride myself in being a jiu jitsu guy.”
So why then does the jiu jitsu specialist have all these KOs on his record? The answer is simple – it feels good and it makes money. What could be better than that?
“At the same time, I’ve been knocking people out and it just feels really cool. I also feel like the performance bonuses are usually given to the knockouts instead of submissions,” he said. “And if I can drop a knockout every single time and get 50k, that’s ideal to me. Adding another 50k to what you already get makes your life a lot better.”
While the feel of his hands and his wallet are a large part of the driving force, Yanez points to his early childhood. Having grown up in a family that watches lots of boxing, he drew an affinity for the big shot at a young age.
“Man, it’s just one of those things – I love knocking people out. Like, I can’t stress it enough. I love hitting people and I love knocking people out like that,” Yanez said. “I grew up on boxing. I remember being a kid and watching the knockout and watching the hands and being infatuated with people getting knocked out.”
Adrian Yanez will look to add another clip to his highlight reel along with another 50k this weekend when he faces off with Gustavo Lopez. That fight will be on the ESPN+ main card of UFC Vegas 22 this Saturday.
You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 2:40.