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Will Brooks wins UFC debut by decision, calls out new champ Eddie Alvarez anyway

Will Brooks won a narrow decision over Ross Pearson in his UFC debut. (Getty)

The UFC lightweight division has just become even more competitive as former Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks made his successful UFC debut by defeating Ross Pearson by unanimous decision at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale.

Brooks signed with the UFC on June 16 after being released from Bellator despite being the promotion’s reigning lightweight champion. The same day he signed, Brooks was thrust into a fight with Pearson after James Krause, Pearson’s original opponent, was pulled from the fight. But the short notice didn’t affect Brooks as the former champion looked sharp against the former TUF winner.

Brooks and Pearson spent much of the bout standing as Brooks utilized short knee strikes to the torso and leg kicks to keep Pearson from settling into a comfortable boxing match. The former Bellator champion did manage to secure a takedown in the second round but was unable to put his vaunted wrestling to work as Pearson managed to shrug off his attempts to take his back. Regardless, Brooks infighting was strong enough to take the round.

Both fighters came out swinging in the third with Pearson catching a second wind as he surged at Brooks with powerful strikes to the midsection and whipped punches around his guard. Brooks survived the assault and halted Pearson’s momentum with a takedown. Both fighters slugged it out to close the show. In the end, Brooks secured a 29-28 score across the board to earn a unanimous decision and had a message to the division’s new lightweight champion.

“Eddie Alvarez, hold onto that belt a little bit,” Brooks said during his post-fight interview. “You got away from me in the other organization but I’m here now.”

Brooks won the Bellator lightweight championship after Alvarez vacated the title during a dispute with Bellator that eventually landed the new lightweight champion in the UFC. Brooks would go on to defeat Michael Chandler – who split fights with Eddie Alvarez – on two occasions to secure his spot as the top talent in the Bellator division. But he won’t be satisfied until he gets his shot at Alvarez.

Brooks may not be next in line, but he’s certainly making sure that he puts the new champion on notice.


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