When James Krause pulled out of their contest that was set for July 8, Ross Pearson probably thought that he would have to wait it out for a while before he was matched again. Instead, he now welcomes former Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks to the promotion.
Bringing an eight-fight win streak with him into the Octagon, Brooks undoubtedly has his eyes on the UFC lightweight division’s title. Despite helping Michael Chandler to prepare for Brooks in the past, Pearson admits that he doesn’t know all that much about his upcoming opponent.
“To be honest, I don’t know an awful lot about him,” said Pearson. “I was brought in as one of Mike’s sparring partners for one of his fights with him, but I never did much research on Will Brooks. I definitely know who the guy is, but the only fights I’ve ever seen him in are the ones against Mike.
“Mike has trouble with guys who kick and who go backward. He kind of struggles at kicking range, but if it’s just wrestling and boxing he’s one of the best guys in the world. I knew it would be a hard fight because Will Brooks likes to kick.”
The Brit believes that his employers have called on him to show Brooks what the UFC standard is all about. He is sure that his 29-year-old opponent has nothing in his arsenal that can surprise him when they meet on the main card of The Ultimate Fighter Finale, which will beam around the world on UFC Fight Pass.
“If UFC wants to pay me to be their hit man I’m happy to do that. I feel like they’re sending me in to do a job on this guy. I’m a 25-fight veteran with UFC. I’ve been in there with better wrestlers, better strikers and better submission guys than Will Brooks.
“There is nothing this guy has for me to fear. He has nothing that I haven’t seen before. He’s going to realize very quickly that the fight is not going to leave me. It’s extremely difficult to put me away. I’m gonna be in there ’til the death and I’ll be looking to take him out from the first bell right up until the last.
“He’s got a real fight on his hands. He probably thinks he’s just going to come into the UFC and walk all over us. He probably thinks he just needs to win a few fights and then he’ll get a title shot, but he has another thing coming.”
Win, lose or draw, Pearson regularly elicits superlatives from analysts and commentators due to his technical ability with his boxing. As he explained, he has spent time trying to work on some of the other facets of the game, but when he does that, he finds that his boxing suffers because of it.
He said: “Boxing is my foundation, that’s the background I come from. For me, without boxing, I’ve got nothing. That’s my bread and butter. It’s my foundation for everything.
“In the past, I’ve worried about not being as strong in other areas. I’ve spent time concentrating on my wrestling. I’ve spent time concentrating on my jiu-jitsu. When I did that, I always felt that my foundation wasn’t as strong. For the last few fights, I’ve been concentrating on what wins me fights. Knocking people out is what wins me fights.”
Brooks has won a lot of praise for the continued development of his own striking game, but Pearson isn’t expecting the American to want to spend too much time in the pocket with him.
“We’re going to see a Bellator kickboxer turn into a UFC wrestler. It won’t take him long to realize that he can’t match my power or my timing. He knows that I want to stand with him and I’m going to be looking to take him out. It’s going to be a very uncomfortable situation for him. It’s great for me if he wants to stand, that’s an easy night’s work for me.
“Even if he does try to stand with me, I think he’ll run away from me. I’d expect him to go backward throughout the exchanges if he did that. He’d probably try and play the Trinaldo game—just hit and move constantly. Nobody wants to stand with me so that’s usually what happens. They either run or they wrestle.
“We’ve been preparing for both. There are plenty of great wrestlers and strikers in Alliance, and I believe that Eric Del Fierro has me ready for anything Will Brooks brings to the table in Vegas.”
He might not have had the best things in the world to say about Brooks in terms of his skillset, but Pearson knows that the UFC debutant has brought a lot of attention to their bout.
“There was nothing to really get the fans interested in the fight with James Krause. The media weren’t asking questions about it, it was just another fight in the UFC. That’s not what I’m about now. I’m at the point in my career now where I want people to tune in.
“Will Brooks is a massive talking point seeing as he’s coming over as a champion from another organization and he’s looking to do the same thing with UFC. I’m in there to stop him from doing that. It’s got the fans excited, it’s got me excited and I’m ready to go to war.”
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