Best male Bellator fighter: Will Brooks
Will Brooks’ stints in the UFC and PFL between 2016 and 2018 did not go as planned. He’s done quite a bit of losing since that time, and it wouldn’t be a bad argument to call him one of the biggest recent disappointments. But that’s because, during his time in Bellator, Brooks showed he was an absolutely talented fighter who could hang with some of the promotion’s best.
Brooks, who had his first MMA fight in January 2011, started his MMA career with eight straight wins, including a win over UFC veteran Drew Dober and a win in the DREAM promotion, before signing with Bellator. Debuting at Bellator 87, Brooks competed in the season eight lightweight tournament, defeating Ricardo Tirloni but losing in the semifinals to Saad Awad.
After the loss, however, Brooks would not lose another fight in Bellator. Brooks would defeat John Alessio, Awad and Alexander Sarnavskiy to win the season nine tournament before getting the chance to fill-in for Eddie Alvarez against Michael Chandler at Bellator 120. Brooks ended up defeating Chandler by split decision at Bellator’s first pay-per-view event to become the interim lightweight champion.
When Alvarez left for the UFC, Brooks and Chandler had a rematch for the vacant belt at Bellator 131. This time, Brooks didn’t leave it to the judges, finishing Chandler to claim the title. He’d successfully defend the championship against Dave Jansen and Marcin Held before leaving for the UFC in 2016.
- Thomas Albano