As the old adage goes, “One man’s former champion is another man’s free agent signing.” Or something along those lines…
On Wednesday, it was announced former Bellator MMA lightweight champ Will Brooks (pictured) has signed a multi-fight deal to join the UFC. Brooks will make his big league debut against Ross Pearson at The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale.
MMAJunkie.com first reported Brooks’ signing, which UFC officials have since confirmed.
Despite rattling off eight consecutive victories en route to capturing the lightweight crown, Bellator willingly let Brooks walk out the cage door after his contract expired. Bellator president Scoot Coker previously stated, “we’re not going to be in the Will Brooks business any longer.”
The UFC was more than willing to scoop up the hottest lightweight free agent on the market to add to their deepest division.
Brooks was last seen in November posting a unanimous decision win over Marcin Held to notch his second straight title defense.
Pearson, who was initially slated to face James Krause in the event, has alternated between wins and losses over his past eight outings. “The Real Deal” is looking to build off March’s split decision victory over Chad Laprise.
No word on what the UFC intends to do with Krause.
The July 8 event takes place inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Fox Sports 1 will broadcast the main card live.
Here is the card’s updated lineup:
James Krause vs. TBD
Scott Askham vs. Anthony Smith
Li Jingliang vs. Anton Zafir
Will Brooks vs. Ross Pearson
TUF 23 women’s strawweight final
TUF 23 light heavyweight final
Claudia Gadelha vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC strawweight champion)