Bellator 109: Brooks Focused “110%” on Beating Sarnavskiy, Not Possible Title Shot
By Kelsey Mowatt
Will Brooks made his Bellator debut earlier this year backed with considerable hype, and after having his first tournament run halted by Saad Awad in February, the explosive lightweight is a victory away from winning the promotion’s Season Nine competition. If Brooks can defeat “Tiger” Sarnavskiy Friday night in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, his career will enter an accomplished stage many insiders forecast for the 27 year-old.
“Honestly man, I’ve just been focusing on “Tiger” you know?” Brooks relayed to Full Contact Fighter recently, while discussing what’s on the line November 22nd. “I’m just going to take this whole tournament one fight at a time, really get excited for every single fight, and like I said, I’m really just focused on fighting “Tiger” and that’s about it.”
And now that Brooks has gone 4-1 to date in Bellator, and is a win away from securing a tournament win, has he received more attention from the media?
“Ah, no, not really; it’s been pretty much the same. I think I’ve gotten a little bit more attention as far as doing different interviews and things like that…I probably haven’t paid too much attention to it just because I’m doing everything possible that I can to stay 110% focused on this fight. I really haven’t given too much thought to the interviews, media and things like that that I’ve had to do.”
While Brooks (12-1) arrived in Bellator with a fair amount of buzz, thanks to his impressive stoppage win over Satoru Kitaoka last NYE, Sarnavskiy is also highly touted. Although the 24 year-old lost his Bellator debut to UFC vet Rich Clementi by split decision, since then Sarnavskiy has won four straight bouts with the promotion.
“It’s very easy to hear about all that stuff; the last tournament I was in he was a finals favorite and unfortunately he ended up hurting his hand and had to drop out,” Brooks said about the Russian lightweight, while discussing whether he expected Sarnavskiy to be in the final. “I heard different things about him being a favorite to make it to the finals and possibly win the whole thing.”
“I never really paid attention to it just because my first fight in the tournament was against John Alessio, who is an extremely talented veteran of the sport,” Brooks noted about Alessio, who he defeated by unanimous decision at Bellator 101 in September. “All of my attention was focused on him 110%. I was never able to give anybody else too much thought.”
Sarnavskiy has needed less than three minutes total to win his quarter and semifinal bouts, as the aggressive fighter has secured quick stoppage wins over Marcus Davis and Ricardo Tirloni.
“I think he’s got some really sharp striking,” said Brooks, who avenged his stoppage loss to Awad earlier this year in the recent semifinals, by handing him a unanimous decision loss. “He’s got like a point scoring type of striking, like a Shoot Box type of style, where he’s a volume striker. He’s got a couple of really impressive wins.”
“It’s very impressive that he’s been able to put together all these really good fights and really good finishes. I’m very impressed by that, but again, I personally don’t believe that I’m anything similar to the guys he’s fought.”
Bellator 108 will be hosted by the Sands Casino Event Center and the main card will be broadcast on SPIKE.