There’s just one week to go until the commencement of this year’s eagerly awaited edition of The Ultimate Fighter.
We have all spoken at length about the captivating persona that is Conor McGregor. Now, we finally will get to see the Dubliner try his hand at coaching on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
For the unacquainted, TUF pits professional MMA fighters off against one another with the goal of finding UFC’s next star. The fighters are split into teams, each being trained by a UFC veteran. While highly edited, TUF is exactly what MMA junkies need while we await another imperious UFC Embedded series with Messrs McGregor and Aldo in December before UFC194.
Over 20 seasons of TUF have taken place all over the world. For the first time however, Team America, coached by Faber will face off with McGregor’s Team Europe. This may be make or break for the series, which was becoming stagnant.
In an attempt at a shake up, the last series pitted two rival training gyms (American Top Team and Blackzilians) off against one another in the first series which was shot by Fox Sports. While the glitz and glamour of the trailers made it look revitalised, the gym format seemed rather contrived and never really expanded the TUF target audience as planned.
If McGregor and Faber can reignite the mind games and animosity between coaches that was previously witnessed in TUF (such as Series 17 featuringJon Bones Jones v Chael Sonnen), fight fans may be spoiled by the latest instalment of TUF, even if (unlike previously) the coaches do not face off at the end of the season.
McGregor obviously has bigger fish to fry in Vegas.
Removing the tedious nature of some contests, UFC places incentives on the line for fighters to take risks and go for highlight reel knock-outs, none more ravenous that Uriah Hall’s head kick KO of Adam Cella from the aforementioned Season 17. Getting the fighters of the ‘Californian Kid’ and McGregor in that mindset should provide some top quality TV.
The new season of the show will run for twelve episodes, airing Wednesday nights on FOX Sports 1 all leading to “The Ultimate Fighter” Finale on December 11th in a card headlined by former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar facing Chad Mendes in the main event.
The opening episode on September 9th will showcase the fights to get into the house as 32 competitors begin but only 16 will survive to move into The Ultimate Fighter House with a chance to win a chance at joining the biggest MMA promotion in the world.
Andreas Quintana (8-1) from Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Austin Springer (8-0) from Portland, Oregon,
Billy Quarantillo (6-1) from Tampa, Florida.
Brandon Ricetti (7-1) from Chico, California,
Brennan Sevin (7-1) from Chauvin, Louis.
Chris Gruetzemacher (12-1) from Peoria, Arizona.
Jason Soares (8-0) from Miami, Florida.
Johnny Nunez (5-1) from Las Vegas, Nevada.
James Jenkins (8-1) from Long Island, New York.
Jason Gonzalez (9-2) from Colton, California,
Julian Erosa (14-1) from Yakima, Washington,
Mike Flach (7-1) from Rancho Cucamonga, California,
Ryan Hall (4-1) from Falls Church, USA,
Thanh Le (4-1) from New Orleans, Louis,
Tim Welch (12-5) from Glendale, Ariz,
Tom Gallicchio (19-8) from Perth Amboy, N.J.
Artem Lobov (11-10-1-1) from Dublin, Ireland,
Abner Lloveras (19-7-1) from Barcelona, Spain,
David Teymur (3-1) from Stockholm, Sweden,
Djamil Chan (19-2) from Amsterdam, Netherlands,
Frantz Frank Slioa (4-0) from Stockholm, Sweden,
Marcin Wrzosek (10-2) from Bydgoszcz, Poland,
Martin Delaney (10-1) from Bathgate, Scotland,
Martin Svensson (14-5) from Malmo, Sweden,
Mehdi Baghdad (11-3) from Toulon, France,
Mohamed Grabinski (10-1) from Dusseldorf, Germany,
Paulo Boer (10-1-1) from Holland,
Sascha Sharma (8-2) from Stuttgart, Germany,
Saul Rogers (10-1) from Bolton, England,
Sean Carter (10-1) from Essex, England,
Thibault Gouti (10-0) vs. Avignon, France,
Vladimir Sikic (10-0) from Frankfurt, Germany.