Former Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks has reportedly inked a deal to join the UFC’s already star-studded 155-pound division, and according to MMAJunkie, ‘Ill Will’ will make his UFC debut at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 23 Finale this July 8 against Ross Pearson.
Brooks appears to be extremely excited to fight for the sport’s most distinguished promotion, as his reaction was captured in this video:
Brooks (18-1) is on a head-turning eight-fight win streak not having lost since February of 2013. His most recent cage appearance saw him successfully retaining his Bellator 155-pound strap against Marcin Held at Bellator 145 last November.
‘Ill Will’ was later released by the promotion, being forced to vacate his longtime lightweight crown, and allowed to test the free-agency market. Bellator President Scott Coker had this to say on Brooks’ release:
“It was very simple,” he said. “Will Brooks’ contract is ending, and we made a decision not to renew it. We’re going to give him a full release, so we’re not going to be in the Will Brooks business any longer.”
Brooks’ inaugural opponent Pearson (19-10-1), has won three of his last five bouts, most recently taking home a split decision win over Chad Laprise at UFC Fight Night 85 in March. Pearson was originally scheduled to throw down with James Krause at the TUF 23 Finale; however, Krause was forced out of the bout for undisclosed reasons.
The TUF 23 Finale takes place live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, live on FS1 on July 8, 2016. It will be headlined by a women’s strawweight championship bout between champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and No. 1-ranked Claudia Gadelha.