- Former Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks finds a new home after short PFL stint
- Abel Trujillo set to compete for the first time since a 2017 loss to John Makdessi
- Battlefield FC is a South Korean promotion that recently came under new ownership
Will Brooks (20-4-1) is set for his first fight of 2019, as the former Bellator lightweight champion will take on UFC veteran Abel Trujillo (15-8) at Battlefield FC 2 on July 22, according to John Hyon Ko.
The Body Lock can, at this time, confirm that the bout has been agreed upon by both fighters.
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Brooks, 32, quickly rose through the ranks as professional, winning his first nine fights after turning pro in 2011 following a 6-0 amateur career. The Chicago, Illinois, native signed with Bellator MMA, where he won the season nine lightweight tournament at Bellator 109.
Following his tournament win, Brooks defeated multi-time Bellator champion Michael Chandler for the vacant lightweight title in what was widely considered an upset victory. Brooks then defended that title against Chandler the following year, that time erasing any doubt, as he finished Chandler with strikes in the fourth round.
Brooks would go on to defend his title two more times before signing with the UFC amid much fanfare. A promotional debut win over U.K. MMA legend Ross Pearson had hopes high for Brooks’ potential, but he quickly ran into a rough patch in the form of a three-fight losing streak to the likes of Alex Oliveira, Charles Oliveira, and Nik Lentz.
Subsequently, Brooks was released from the UFC.
The next year, Brooks signed on to compete on season one of the Professional Fighters League (PFL). There, Brooks showed signs of his former self, defeating former WSOF title challenger Luiz Firmino and snapping the ten-fight unbeaten streak of LFA champion Robert Watley.
However, a draw to fellow ex-UFC lightweight Rashid Magomedov halted Brooks’ PFL momentum, and he did not return to the promotion for its 2019 season.
In the months since, Brooks has been campaigning for fights in several promotions, most notably challenging the resurgent Damien Brown in Brown’s newfound home inside the RIZIN ring.
And while Brooks will be headed to Asia for his next fight, it will be a different country, a different promotion, and a different opponent than his recent Twitter back-and-forths led many to believe.
Brooks will take on Abel Trujillo on Battlefield FC 2, which is set to take place on July 27 in Macao. Brooks’ bout signing comes just days after signing with the prestigious MMA management firm, Suckerpunch Entertainment.
Trujillo, 35, has yet to fight professionally since a 2017 loss to John Makdessi at UFC on FOX 26. The North Carolinian fought eleven times for the UFC, including bouts against some of the toughest names in the lightweight division.
Notably, Trujillo scored UFC wins over Jordan Rinaldi, Gleison Tibau, and won perhaps one of the greatest, most exciting fights of all time, a riveting knockout victory over Jamie Varner.
Now, Trujillo will return to action against American Top Team’s own Will Brooks in the co-main event of Battlefield FC 2.
Battlefield FC is a South Korean combat sports promotion that last promoted an event, Battlefield FC 1, in March of 2017. The event, which featured the likes of PFL contender Sarah Kaufman, UFC bantamweight Jessica Rose-Clark, and a grappling match between the renowned Jeff Glover and Wan Gi Chae, was remembered in a far less positive light than it should have been.
Following the conclusion of the promotion’s debut event, fighters like Rose-Clark and Kaufman announced that they had not been paid their agreed purses and were facing financial difficulties as a result of Battlefield’s nonpayment.
Ultimately, over a year later, Battlefield settled its debts with the fighters from their debut – and then-only – event.
Now, it appears as if Battlefield is trying to get back on track, two years after its first event. And with a co-main event between Brooks and Trujillo and the introduction of MMA legend Wanderlei Silva as a brand ambassador, it is possible that Battlefield comes back in a big way this summer.
However, the promotion will likely face scrutiny over the treatment of its fighters after the fighter pay debacle in 2017.
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.