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Will Brooks, the lightweight champ at Bellator MMA, faced submission specialist Marcin Held tonight at Bellator Vengeance.
The champ was taken down early in the first round, which he needed to avoid at all costs. Held was able to put him in a tight kneebar, which Brooks somehow survived to meet the bell.
In the second round, Brooks displayed his ability to take Held down at Will (no pun intended). Constantly working in and out of dangerous submission attempts by Held, Brooks kept his composure on the ground, eventually taking the mount position with three minutes remaining. After punishing Held’s body for a minute, Brooks attempted an art-triangle choke and almost cinched it. The last two minutes were spent with Brooks punishing Held from the mount position.
At the start of round three, Held went for a lazy takedown and quickly ended up on bottom. From there it was a couple minutes of top control by Brooks and then a couple of boos from the crowd. With a minute and a half left, Brooks started punishing Held, who was competently defending himself and attempting kneebars with his legs. With less than 30 seconds left, Held went for a heel-hook, eventually letting go at the bell.
Entering the championship rounds Held was breathing heavy, leading Jimmy Smith to comment, “You can tell who the champion is.” Another sharp inverted heel-hook from Held, another survival by Brooks who again ended up on top, leading to much of the same. The next few minutes took place in the guard of Held. The more the fight went on, the more time spent on his back, the worse the odds looked for Held, who attempted one more toe-hold before the end of the round. Brooks walked confidently back to his corner, while Held remained on the ground prompting McCarthy to verbally urge him into his corner.
The final round and Brooks quickly locked up a clinch and a takedown, prompting more intense booing from the crowd. Content to try to finish the fight from the ground, Brooks remained in the guard of Held and landed some sporadic punches. McCarthy stood them up with two minutes to go, and again Brooks locked up the clinch and ended up on top. The fight ended with a clear winner, but a cacophony of boos from the crowd. Will Brooks walked back to his corner with a huge smile on his face.
Note: in the post fight interview, Brooks said he had his knee popped in the first round by one of Held’s foot locks, which is the reason he kept taking the fight to the ground.
Your winner, by unanimous decision: