Following three wins in three fights in 2019, bantamweight Adrian Yanez was looking forward to another productive year in 2020 when his plans were halted due to the novel coronavirus.
Admittedly during the early days of the pandemic lockdown, Yanez was adversely affected by having the rug pulled out from underneath him.
“My 2020 was me planning to fight at least four times this year,” Yanez told MMAWeekly.com. “On March 13, I had a fight set for Fury FC, and hours before the event was set to begin I get a call saying the event was cancelled. It kind of threw me down a little spiral.
“I just wanted to fight. I was super bummed out. As things got progressively worse with Covid-19, it kind of threw things into a weird limbo state. We weren’t really sure what was going to happen. It was a weird crazy time.”
While he was down, Yanez was not out for long, choosing instead to focus on training and developing himself as much as he could during the lockdown.
“I stayed true,” said Yanez. “I stayed consistently training throughout this whole entire time. I’ve been in fight shape since the beginning of the year. I’m ready to go.
“I’ve been adding a lot of things into my repertoire and skillset. I’ve been wrestling a lot more. I’ve been doing Jiu-Jitsu. Whenever I would roll or do Jiu-Jitsu, I would be content with just covering my guard and everything, but now I’m consistently looking for finishes everywhere. If it worked, I added it.”
On Tuesday in Las Vegas, Yanez (10-3) will look to earn his way to the next stage of his career when he faces Brady Huang (11-1) in a bantamweight bout at Dana White’s Contender Series 2020: Week 2.
“I feel I match up really well with Brady,” Yanez said. “I know he’s a stand-up guy, but I know he’s not scared to take it to the ground. He has pretty good Jiu-Jitsu, and whenever he’s taken down he’s able to get back up.
“In his stand-up, I feel he’s very basic. He’s a one-two, one-two-three, type fighter. Every once in a while he’ll try to get flashy. I think if I keep calm and just do what I do I’ll get the finish. If I get in my rhythm really quickly I’ll finish him in the first round.”
While Yanez can potentially get a UFC contract with a win on Aug. 11, he’s not looking past his fight itself to what could come next.
“I try not to look past the Contender Series and my upcoming fight with Brady,” said Yanez. “Something happens and you wind up not getting the contract.
“So I’m trying my best to not look past (the fight with Huang), but I can imagine I get the contract and if I’m healthy I want to fight immediately. But I’m not looking past Brady at all. I’m just ready for August 11 and when I step into the cage with Brady.”
Dana White’s Contender Series, Season 4
(Video courtesy of UFC)