Adrian Yanez has become one of the sport’s bright up-and-comers, and he believes a win this weekend will put him on the road to some big future matchups.
Yanez faces Davey Grant at UFC Vegas 43 this Saturday at the APEX. The 27-year-old has won seven straight, and is 3-0 with three finishes in the UFC — stopping Victor Rodriguez, Gustavo Lopez and Randy Costa. With some of the high-level bantamweight bouts that have taken place lately, Yanez — who spent time working with Aljamain Sterling ahead of the fight — has watched with a student mentality, which has boosted his confidence as well.
“It just reminds you that this is a division where you have to be dialed in every second,” Yanez told MMA Fighting. “I can’t have that first round [like I had] against Randy against anybody in the top 15 because they’ll take full advantage of it. After going up and training with Aljo, you learn it’s those small mistakes that can cost big, so I had to close those up. I’m not far from it at all. I need to keep working and closing those gaps so when I do get there, it’s super easy for me to take it.
“Even in the Cory Sandhagen vs. Petr Yan fight, when I’m outside observing and looking in, I could see the high levels. I could also see, ‘This is what I would do in this situation.’ From what I’m looking at — my skills against Cory Sandhagen, or Petr Yan — for the boxing’s sake, I like my chances against Petr Yan because I feel like I have some of the best boxing in the 135 division. But they’re all super, super tough fights. Just getting into the top 15, you’re fighting nothing but killers. You don’t have an easy fight when you get there so, of course, they all excite me.
“Even seeing ‘Chito’ Vera knock out Frankie Edgar, it’s just a reminder that you have to be on your Ps and Qs at every single moment.”
To get to the top 15 matchups and beyond, Yanez will have to defeat a game opponent in Grant, who has won three of his past four fights. “Dangerous” looks to get back in the win column after having his recent three-fight victory streak snapped by Marlon Vera at June’s UFC Vegas 29 event. Prior to that, Grant picked up vicious KO wins over Jonathan Martinez and Martin Day.
Yanez is excited for the future, but he’s certainly not looking past his upcoming opponent.
“I’ve always looked at Davey Grant as the guy that’s a really, really tough fight for anybody,” Yanez explained. “He’s a guy that wants to be in the top 15. He’s trying to get to that belt just like I am. These last couple of fights, they have been pushing me a little bit and trying to see where I’m at. I do feel like they see something in me and if I come out and starch Davey Grant, what else is there to say about me. It’s gonna be like, ‘This guy needs to be in the top 15.’
“I do believe I knock Davey Grant out, it’s just a matter of when and how I do it. At the end of the day, he’s bringing heavy, heavy leather and he’s definitely not an easy fight. He’ll be coming in hard nosed and ready to take my head off. With a win over Davey, it should put me right there. If not, just outside, like 16, 17, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a number next to my name after this fight.”