Will Brooks said before the fight that he was leaving with a victory, and he did. Brooks defeated former No. 1 ranked fighter Robert Watley with a unanimous decision at PFL5, Thursday night, at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.
Watley was already safe from playoff elimination before the fight and was playing defense. Brooks, however, needed either a win or a draw to secure a spot in the playoffs, and — save for a couple of late-round submission attempts — fought like he knew this.
Both fighters looked to be taking a conservative approach, which frustrated the crowd.
Brooks won the fight in the cage but lost against the crowd. Boos rained throughout the fight and only got louder after the post-fight interview.
“For all the people that booed me, I swear I don’t care,” Brooks said to the upset crowd. “Boo all you want. I’m still going to win a million dollars — now what!”
Brooks fought in his hometown of Chicago in his last PFL appearance, but seemed to be comfortable addressing the Long Island audience.
“For people to boo you and not understand what you’re doing – yeah that bugs me a little bit,” said Brooks after the fight. “But at the end of the day I had to let them know that when they get done booing I’m going to go cash this paycheck and I’m going to be alright.”
Brooks is confident he’ll be the last lightweight fighter standing in the PFL’s inaugural season. He walked out of the ring making money gestures with his fingers to the fans while screaming, “Money in the bank!”
Having safely landed himself in the playoffs, Brooks believes he has an advantage in this format. Brooks fought in the Bellator promotion in 2013, which had a playoff format at time.
Brooks likens himself to a rhythm shooter in basketball who’s catching fire at the right time.
“I’m a rhythm type of guy,” said Brooks. “I keep that mindset when I come into fighting — you catch a win, you catch a rhythm, you get your feet underneath you and take that back into the gym and keep that going.”