Will Brooks makes his post-UFC debut in the main event of Professional Fighters League's card Thursday night in Chicago, and Luis Firmino predicts a bad night for the former Bellator lightweight champion.
“Buscape” is coming off a first-round stoppage win over Eddy Elis in his PFL debut last year, and doesn’t seem too impressed by the lightweight’s resume. Brooks holds wins over the likes of Michael Chandler (twice), Marcin Held and Ross Pearson, but was cut from the UFC after consecutive losses to Alex Oliveira, Charles Oliveira and Nik Lentz.
”There are no easy fights, but I don’t think he’s that tough,” Firmino told MMA Fighting. “He was a champion at Bellator, had a couple of tough fights with Michael Chandler, but the other ones he fought aren’t big names. He has fought tough guys in the UFC, but the same thing will happen now.”
The former PRIDE fighter is currently training in Colorado alongside the last man to beat him in MMA, Justin Gaethje, and vows to become another Brazilian to beat Brooks in a MMA cage.
”When he fights Brazilians he loses, and it won’t change now at PFL,” Firmino said. “I’m sure I’ll beat him in the first or second rounds. I have a good striking, good jiu-jitsu, good wrestling, and I won’t give him any space. I’ll put pressure on him from start to finish. I won’t let him breathe.”
If he advances to the playoffs and makes it to the lightweight final, “Buscape” can pocket one million dollars with a win, which is more than his entire career earnings. An interesting coincidence, he points out, is that PFL 2 will take place at Chicago Theater, less than 25 miles away where he fought for the first time in the U.S., defeating Tom Kirk via submission at the Hammond Civic Center in 2003.
”I’m happy to go back to Chicago and beat another ‘gringo’ in his backyard,” Firmino said. “Fifteen years ago, my win at Shooto Americas opened the doors for me in Japan, and it won’t be different this time. I want this win and no one will take that away from me. I don’t know what I’ll do yet with a million dollars but I will win it, that’s for sure.”