Lane Yarbrough didn’t look too intimidating walking through the doors to face his opponent. Sporting a gas station-purchased grill and Wal-Mart costume wings, the 2006 Sam Houston State University graduate entered the arena to compete in the mixed martial arts Pure Cage Halloween Fight in Conroe last Thursday.
“I’m not really nervous at all,” Yarbrough said. “It’s part of the daily routine. It’s work.”
Yarbrough entered the Texagon with a 8-5 fight record against his opponent, Chris Tramell’s 9-2. With the odds against him, Yarbrough delivered a three-punch combo, landing a left hook to Tramell, ending the fight by knock-out only two minutes and six seconds into the first round.
With over six years of training under his belt, Yarbrough has made a name for himself within the mixed martial arts circuit.
“During the weigh in, I had trainers and fighters come up to me and ask if Lane was fighting,” teammate Collin Cantrell. “When I would say ‘yes,’ they’d get really excited. You know that you’re doing well when you have peers that are your fans.” To meet the 155 pound weigh in Tuesday night, Yarbrough managed to drop 13 pounds in two days.
“Basically he just had to starve himself,” Cantrell said. “He just kept on jumping rope and doing bag work. That’s probably the hardest part of all the training.”
Yarbrough has been training with Cantrell for two years at the Death Row Gym in Huntsville.
“We were having a house submission fight and he walked into our gym and we got him to join in,” Cantrell said. “It ended with him making me tap and quit. I’ve respected him ever since.”
After joining the gym, Yarbrough quickly became part of the Death Row fighting team and began training towards the goal of becoming part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
While some fighters believe that moving up to the UFC is “selling out,” Yarbrough disagrees.
“That’s where the best fighters in the world end up,” he said. “If you’re a real fighter who wants to go up against the best in the world, then you go up to UFC. Hopefully, one day, I’ll be on that stage.”
With the future fight card appearances lined up, it looks like he could be headed in that direction.
On November 10, Yarborough is set to fight on Elite SC 170 on Showtime.
“He’s sharing the spotlight with some big names,” Cantrell said. “This could all lead up to UFC. I’m as giddy as a school girl.”
Though the team is excited about the television appearances, Yarbrough admits he doesn’t even have a television.
“Collin will probably tape it and we’ll watch it at Fatboys,” he said. “That’s our hangout because we’re gangster like that.”
Before going into the fight, Yarbrough did his ritual. The pre-fight routine usually consist of a trip to Barnes and Noble for some casual reading and then a trip to Starbucks for a frappacino.
“It’s become part of the mojo,” Yarbrough said. “It’s part of the magic. I’m just a coffee drinker.”
Whether or not the frappacino played a part in the knock out at last Thursday, the fight, which was televised on channel 55, left the audience in an uproar.
“He stood up and I hit him with a left hook,” he said after the fight. “It was my first knock out.”