by Matt Lo Cascio
Midwest Training Center’s Will Brooks had little trouble on the biggest stage of his career when he fought Satoru Kitaoka at Dream 18 in Japan on New Year’s Eve.
Brooks controlled the fight from the opening bell, exuding calm and showing a poise usually reserved for much more experienced fighters.
Kitaoka, a veteran of over 50 fights, tried to work his vaunted ground game, but Brooks was able to escape submission attempts and ended up in top position after each one.
Brooks showed how well-rounded he is in the first round as caution morphed to confidence after he fought off a few of Kitaoka’s holds. He landed a massive suplex that got a roar from the crowd, as well as one from play by play man Mauro Ranallo.
When Kitaoka held onto a single leg looking to take Brooks down, Brooks threw a knee to his head with his free leg, showing his athleticism and creativity. He also connected with a head kick that dropped Kitaoka before the first round was over. Brooks clearly won the round.
Brooks turned it up a notch for round two, starting the round by landing another head kick and a power slam. He continued to work ground and pound, and fought off sub attempts with some nasty heel strikes to Kitaoka’s face from the 50/50 position.
With about 1:30 left in round two, Brooks moved to top position and started dropping right hands on Kitaoka, most of them connecting. Kitaoka started to bleed and Brooks took his back, landing power strikes with both hands. “Kitaoka looks ready to go,” commented analyst Stephen Quadros. And indeed he was.
After numerous unanswered strikes, the ref waved it off at 3:46 of round two, with Brooks receiving the win via TKO. He remains undefeated at 8-0.
“Remember the name Will Brooks!”, said Ranallo.
“I will not forget that name, that guy put on a clinic here on how to defeat a leg-lock monster,” added Quadros.
It was a huge moment for Brooks, defeating a crafty, veteran fighter that has beaten some big names in MMA.
Here is the fight in its entirety.