Tony Kelley came into UFC Austin the bad guy and left the loser in his fight against Adrian Yanez. Yanez TKO’d the controversial Kelley just 3:49 into the first round.
Kelley has been on the s—tlist of many fans since cameras caught him dropping some pretty offensive comments as Andrea Lee’s corner during UFC Vegas 54. Trying to amp up Lee after a hard round, Kelley accused her opponent Viviane Araujo of cheating.
“That’s what they’re gonna do,” he said. “They’re dirty f—king Brazilians. They’re going to f—king cheat like that.”
That obviously upset the Brazilian fans watching, and Kelley’s non-apology following the event didn’t help. “I dislike everyone equally, I’ll put it that way,” he said. “So I think pretty much I’ve answered all that. Much love to my Brazilian fans and friends. If you don’t like what I said, I don’t know what to tell you on that, sorry. Sorry if you got your feelings hurt.”
So as Dominick Cruz pointed out coming into the fight, there was a lot of pressure on Yanez to settle things in the cage for everyone watching. Right from the start it was clear the drama had carried into the Moody Center as Tony Kelley threw up his middle fingers to the camera and a booing crowd, while hometown favorite Yanez got a ton of cheers.
The arena exploded when Yanez took over the fight in the second half of the first round, and then he knocked down Kelley and finished him on the ground (watch all the highlights from Yanez-Kelley here).
Once again, cameras caught a less than flattering portrait of Kelley after the fight as he claimed he was the victim of an early stoppage.
During commercial before the decision was read, Tony Kelley approached Yanez and told him that he didn’t go out.
Yanez: “You were out”
Kelley: “I wasn’t out, you were out.”
Yanez: “You were facing completely the other way”
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) June 18, 2022
At the UFC Austin post-fight press conference, Yanez detailed the trash talk in the cage with Kelley.
“Yeah he was talking to me in the cage, he was like ‘You keep on bringing up that stuff from Brazil, bro. You talking all that s—t.’ And I’m like bro, I can’t control what [the press] asks me, and if y’all ask me I’m going to say what I feel. I’m not going to hold back my opinions.”
“At the same time, it’s not me putting up the headlines … if he looked at it instead of reading the clickbait s—t, he’d understand what I’m saying. Because I actually cut him some slack. But I still look at him sideways, even now. There’s still some animosity, I don’t like that guy.”
“There was just an extra added thing to it when I was fighting him,” he said later. “Because in the middle when he started talking a little more s—t I was like ‘Oh, now I really don’t like you.’ I can get being in that competitive spot and finding something to pump you up. He talked s—t and I felt like I kept everything pretty cordial and he starts calling me a Wish version of Masvidal … and now he wishes he didn’t say that, you know?”
“In my head I was like ‘Keep talking. Just keep talking. I’m finding my openings.’ Every time he opened his mouth, I saw another opening. And that’s when I started rocking him. I don’t know if you guys saw, but he starts talking to me, found the opening, rocked him. He kept opening up his mouth and I kept shutting it for him. So I think that was the perfect way to explain it.”
The TKO win over Kelley at UFC Austin advances Adrian Yanez to 16-3 MMA, 5-0 UFC, and earned him a nice $50,000 performance of the night bonus.