Former Bellator MMA lightweight champion Will Brooks has officially signed with the UFC.

MMAJunkie was the first to report the news.

Brooks (17-1) most recently parted ways from Bellator MMA early last month. The man known as “Ill”  debuted for the promotion in January 2013, earning a decision Ricardo Tirloni in the quarterfinals of the company’s Season 8 lightweight tournament before suffering the only loss of his career in the tournaments semifinals at the hands of a Saad Awad first round knockout

He would later enter the promotions Season 9 lightweight tournament where he would claim victory after earning decision over John Alessio, Alexander Sarnavskiy and avenging his loss to Awad.

The American Top Team product was eventually named the replacement for injured champion Eddie Alvarez against Michael Chandler in May 2015. Brooks would go onto earn the close  split decision win over the heavily favored Chandler, earning the promotion’s interim title in the process.

It was not soon after Alvarez jumped shipped to the UFC, forcing Bellator to book the immediate rematch between Brooks and Chandler for the the now vacant lightweight title. Brooks would end up defeating Chandler by fourth round TKO, claiming the undisputed title in the process.

Brooks would go no to defend his belt against Marcin Held and Dave Jansen before before departing from the promotion

Now with a new home, Brooks will make his UFC debut against Ross Pearson at the The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale in July. Pea

Pearson (17–9), winner of other ninth season of The Ultimate Fighter, was expected to face James Krause at the event before KRause was forced out of the fight earlier this week.

In his most recent effort, Pearson earned a decision over TUF: Nations winner Chad Laprise in March. This got “The Real Deal” back into the win column after dropping a decision to Franciso Trinaldo in December. He will enter this bout with 12 career stoppage wins, including seven by way of knockout.

The TUF 23 Finale will take place July 8, the day before UFC 200, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. A strawweight title fight between reigning champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk and bitter rival Cláudia Gadelha will serve as the main event.

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José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on, and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.