The Ultimate Fighter returned with a bang earlier tonight with its first episode airing on ESPN+. The 29th season has been titled “The Ultimate Fighter Returns” and features contestants from the Men’s Bantamweight (135 lbs) and Middleweight (185 lbs) divisions. Eight fighters from each division compete in a tournament, with the season’s two winners earning a contract and slot in the UFC roster.
Note: Spoilers Ahead!
The episode began with Dana White giving his usual “Do you wanna be a fighter” speech and the two coaches divvied up teams from there, with the final rosters being:
With Volkanovski choosing the first fighter in the draft, Ortega was given the ability to choose the first bout. This ended up being a Middleweight contest featuring Aaron Phillips (5-2) and Andre Petroski (5-1).
After the usual training footage and introduction to the house, the fighters got locked in the cage. Phillips, being a dangerous striker, was seeking to avoid the NCAA wrestling of Petroski. It didn’t go too well for him, as Petroski secured a takedown four minutes in after a slow start on the feet. From there, the dominance of Petroski shone through, as he quickly sliced into mount and sunk in an arm-in guillotine choke.
This victory gives Andre Petroski a spot in the Middleweight semi-finals, while Phillips has been eliminated from the competition. He will still live in the TUF house and train under Volkanovski’s tutelage, however.
Following the opening victory for Team Ortega, the first Bantamweight bout was announced between Mitch Raposo (5-0) and Liudvik Sholinian (9-1-1).
Raposo is an undefeated prospect from the Cage Titans promotion. He has a high-level wrestling background and composed stand up to go with it, and Raposo holds three wins by stoppage.
Sholinian comes out of the European regional circuit and has fought in Bellator, M-1, and LFA. He has dominant top control and a high pace, grinding out his opponents with his wrestling.
Tune in next Tuesday, June 8th for the second episode!
Categories: The Ultimate Fighter