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Brooks on title challenger Held: I've seen him take 'the coward's way out'

Will Brooks will defend his lightweight title in the co-main event of Bellator 145: Vengeance on Friday, November 6th, and he's got a lot to say about his opponent Marcin Held.

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Will Brooks is in the middle of a whole different fight at the moment, as he apparently got into a pre-event brawl during with the Pitbull Bros during Bellator's fight week. But, before those latest events went down, he sat down with Bloody Elbow to talk about his upcoming bout (in the cage) against Polish top contender Marcin Held.

The two men are set to square off as the co-main event of Bellator 145: Vengeance on November 6th, in the co-main slot to Patricio Freire's featherweight title fight against Daniel Straus. Brooks and Held are both somewhat homegrown prospects for Bellator. Young fighters who have risen quickly through the promotions ranks, but done so with very different styles and approaches to the game. And it's that fundamental difference of approach that Brooks wanted to put on full blast when speaking about fighting Held.

"I feel like... I appreciate what he does, what his skill sets are, what he does as an athlete," Brooks said of Held's submission heavy game. "You check his record, his way is working, you know? But also, too, you have to go out there and fight, you have to go beat a guy up, punch him in his face, hurt that guy, cut him open, dog him out, and then maybe look for that takedown or go for a leg. But, don't come out and... Some of the video that I've seen, I've seen him dive across the cage for a guy's legs a couple times. And it's just like, man, I would be embarrassed by that. To me that shows that you're so afraid of this person, you're so afraid to compete, and you're so afraid to fight that you're willing to do this outlandish, ridiculous thing of diving across the cage for somebody's leg and rolling to your back and pulling guard and doing all these things. I guess that's how you get to that leg lock and get to the kneebar and things like that, but I feel like this is mixed martial arts, this is fighting. I know haven't even finished a bunch of people, but I think people recognize that when I come in there, I'm coming to fight, I'm coming to hit you hard. I'll try and knee you to the body, elbow you to the face, I'm trying to hurt you every time I'm in there. I don't know if I appreciate his approach to it, you know? But, everybody's got their own way of doing things.

"I respect the actual technique itself, but what I don't respect is the way of getting there. Like I said, if you beat me up, you punch me in the face, you're kicking me and beating me up, and you double leg me, take me down, and you're flat out beating me up and then you snatch this technique and then you beat me with a kneebar. You just beat the crap... You just dog me out, you know, flat out out-class me and then all of a sudden put the cherry on top and snap me off with a kneebar, I'll respect that. I would respect that. But if you're in a cage and you're so terrified, petrified by the other person's presence that you would dive across the cage, to me that's not a fighter, man. You should be in NAGA in a gi and stuff. This is fighting, this isn't dive across the cage and try and grab somebody's leg. It's just not something that I respect, you know. But if he did beat me with a kneebar, then he beat me with a kneebar. But, if he dives across the cage and grabs my leg to do it, I don't respect that. I think that's the coward's way out."

Maybe in part because of his feelings that Held's approach betrays a lack of confidence in his abilities, Brooks said that he doesn't expect his prodding to get Held to change things up and try to out strike him instead:

"I don't think it will," Brooks posited, when asked if he thinks his callout might goad Held. "I think he's one of those guys that's very dedicated to what he does. And I'm not trying to make it one of these things where I'm trying to get him to fight the fight that I want to fight, that doesn't matter to me. I'm going to go out there and compete and do what I do best and that's what I do. I'm not concerned about him fighting me, I'll force him to fight me wherever I want to go. If he wants to go to the ground I'm gonna hurt him, I'm gonna fight him, I'm gonna beat him up, and it's going to be very difficult for him to get a kneebar. If we're standing up on our feet, I'm gonna hurt him, I'm gonna punch him, I'm gonna knock him down, gonna beat him up. I want to make him want to dive for my leg. And once he does that I want to continue to do what I do and smash him. But, it's not I'm trying to get him to fight my fight, that's not it at all."

And for that matter, Brooks added that he's not changing his approach to meet Held either, although he has added a variety of leg lock defenses to his training regimen. Whose philosophy will win out on fight night? That remains to be seen.

You can follow Will Brooks on Twitter @illwillbrooks86

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