Suffocating pressure and crisp punching combinations carried the Metro Fight Club prospect to a split decision over Kyle Estrada in the Legacy Fighting Alliance 78 headliner on Friday at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton, Texas. All three cageside judges struck 29-28 scorecards, two of them siding with Yanez (10-3, 3-2 LFA).
Estrada (10-5, 2-1 LFA) made life difficult for his counterpart, as he zeroed in on the lower lead leg with a series of damaging kicks. However, Yanez adjusted, closed the distance and let powerful punches fly with both hands. By the time the third round arrived, Estrada was bleeding from a cut near his left eye and appeared to be absorbing more of the consequential strikes. He shot for a late takedown, only to be turned away with relative ease.
Yanez, 25, has rattled off three straight victories.
In the bantamweight co-main event, StrKings representative Jose Johnson cut down Rafael Costa with a frightening first-round elbow strike. An unconscious Costa (11-3, 0-1 LFA) hit the deck 1:59 into Round 1, his modest two-fight winning streak at an end.
Johnson (7-5, 1-1 LFA) weathered some early adversity. Costa executed a takedown and threatened with a brabo choke, but in his haste to finish, he allowed the Texan to escape to his feet and eventually free himself. The Brazilian made a pass at a single-leg on Johnson, only to be countered with a sweeping elbow to the side of the head that sent him crashing to the canvas face down.
The 24-year-old Johnson has recorded back-to-back first-round knockouts since his decision loss to Armando Villareal in October 2018.
Meanwhile, Brant Moore kept his perfect professional record intact and did so in exhilarating fashion, as he submitted Nation Gibrick with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their lightweight showcase. Gibrick (2-1, 0-1 LFA) conceded defeat 3:23 into Round 1.
Moore (5-0, 3-0 LFA) struck for an early takedown, progressed to half guard and ultimately achieved full mount. He then advanced to the Bellator MMA alum’s back, slid his arms into place and cinched the choke for the tapout.
The 25-year-old Moore has finished four of his five opponents inside one round.
In other action, J.P. Buys (8-2, 1-0 LFA) disposed of Cristian Rodriguez (2-3, 0-1 LFA) with punches 1:13 into the first round of their bantamweight encounter; Vernon Lewis (7-4, 3-0 LFA) was awarded a majority decision -- 29-27, 29-27, 28-28 -- over Tra'von Butler (1-1, 0-1 LFA) in a three-round heavyweight tilt; Cheyanne Buys (4-1, 2-0 LFA) laid claim to a unanimous decision over Rebecca Adney (0-2, 0-1 LFA) in a three-round women’s strawweight battle, earning 30-27 marks across the board; Elijah Johns (5-1, 3-1 LFA) took a unanimous decision from Mike Murphy (2-2, 1-2 LFA) in a three-round catchweight clash at 150 pounds, drawing 30-27 scores from all three judges; and Steven Jones (4-1, 1-1 LFA) put away Mario Nelson (0-1, 0-1 LFA) with punches 1:56 into the second round of their welterweight paring.