There’s so much that could be said about UFC Austin’s bantamweight showdown between Adrian Yanez and Tony Kelley.
And that was before the fight even transpired.
Yanez was returning to action for the first time since becoming a father— while still mourning the loss of his own father, and his coach.
Kelley had become public enemy number one in recent months, meanwhile. While corning girlfriend Andrea “KGB” Lee, his response to a Viviane Araujo eye poke had included the phrase “dirty f*cking Brazilians” — following which the internet labelled Kelley racist.
The comment was more likely a dig at Brazilians fighting dirty, not being dirty, but labeling an entire country as cheaters hadn’t won Kelley any fans. As a result, Brazilian UFC athletes including Gilbert Burns had offered Yanez money to finish Kelley, though he replied that he’d do it for free.
And after all that, Kelley missed weight for the bout.
With all that in mind, Yanez came out firing on Saturday, but soon settled in, with Kelley on the outside. Kelley fired kicks low and high; Yanez landed a left, which led Kelley to tap his chin mockingly. Kelley’s kicks would backfire later in the round, when Yanez caught one, then cracked Kelley in response. Kelley would be hurt again moments later, and Yanez poured it on, firing hooks. Kelley fired back, but would eat a massive right hook next, wobbled but still standing. Kelley’s eye was swelling, and Yanez wobbled him again! Right hand after right hand hit by the ear. This time, Kelley went to a knee, and Yanez followed up with several more strikes, sealing the deal.
FIRST ROUND FINISH IN HIS HOME STATE!!! 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/mDEMNTyH0Y
— UFC (@ufc) June 18, 2022
Yanez made a statement with that win — both to Kelley, and the division at large.
Official Result: Adrian Yanez def. Tony Kelley by TKO, Round 1, 3:49