Junction fighter Yates ready for national stage

Andrew Yates is training harder than he ever has in his life.

The Grand Junction mixed-martial-arts fighter signed with the World Series of Fighting in June, and he has been preparing for the big stage, WSOF 6 in Miami on Saturday night on the NBC Sports Network.

But amidst all the hype, pressure and preparation, Yates has a fairly simple reason for his strict training regimen heading into the bantamweight fight.

“I really want a solid six-pack for a fight on television,” Yates said. “I’ve been working really hard for that.”

Yates’ joke reflects his relaxation heading into what could be the biggest fight of his life. Instead of being matched up against another newcomer in a preliminary fight­­ , which is normal for rookies, Yates will fight Chad Robichaux. The 37-year-old Texas native has appeared on main cards in Strikeforce and Bellator, the two largest MMA organizations outside of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

“I love the matchup,” Robichaux said. “Two dedicated martial artists and sportsmen. It’s going to be a great match of old school and new blood. Haven’t been this excited for a match in a long time.”

But the buzz around Yates’ debut at WSOF 6 has given him large amounts of publicity quickly. His fight against Robichaux is the first “filler fight” of the evening. Should one of the fights on the main card be cut short by a quick knockout or submission, Yates’ bout would be nationally televised on NBC Sports Network, a huge opportunity for his first major professional fight. Otherwise, his fight will be streamed live on WSOF.com.

Yates’ eight-week training camp took place in Grand Junction, instead of Wanderlei Silva’s gym in Las Vegas.

His coaches and trainers include five-time Sao Paulo jiu-jitsu champion Fabricio Barbosa, his stand-up coach Chris Gates and local fighter Judah Legge.

“It was different being able to be out here and have these guys coaching me,” Yates said. “It was a lot more structured than I’m used to. These guys were making sure I was training and making sure I was watching what I ate.

“I’m excited to get out there and show the world what I can do and put Grand Junction on the map. I’m not scared of my opponent. I’m just excited to finally fight.”


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