(Pocket-lint) - The Ultimate Fighter, the reality show that helped shoot the UFC (and the sport of MMA) into mainstream superstardom, is back after a three-year lay-off and it’s found a new home on ESPN+.
First launched back in 2005, The Ultimate Fighter has given countless up and coming mixed martial artists the opportunity to step into the Octagon and win a lucrative UFC contract, with some even going on to become world champions and legends in their own right.
So, if you’re ready to watch the best prospects and journeymen in the world battle it out for the show’s historic 29th season, here’s everything you need to know.
Where can I watch the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter?
The Return of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Volkanovski vs Team Ortega will return to our screens by making its debut on ESPN+, your new destination for live sports streaming, original shows, and award-winning coverage of all your favourite sports – including MMA!
The new season kicked off on 1 June 2021 and you can watch episodes live on the service every Tuesday, catch up on previous episodes and even brush up on the history of this prestigious reality show with every one of its previous seasons – all on ESPN+.
Who are the coaches for this year’s season of The Ultimate Fighter?
Every season of The Ultimate Fighter sees two seasoned UFC fighters coach two teams of hungry prospects, and this series is no different with the two biggest stars in the UFC’s featherweight division taking on the head coach roles.
One team is being coached by current UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, with the other being overseen by current #2 in the featherweight rankings, Brian Ortega. When this season concludes, Ortega will challenge the Australian champ for the featherweight title at UFC 266 on 25 September 2021.
Volkanovski and Ortega were meant to face one another back at UFC 260 on 27 March 2021, but the fight was pulled from the card due to the champ testing positive for COVID-19. This is one of the most hotly anticipated title matches in MMA, so fans are chomping at the bit to see if Ortega can finally prove he has what it takes to claim UFC gold.
Which weight divisions are The Ultimate Fighter contenders competing in this year?
With each season, one or more of the UFC’s many weight divisions are given the opportunity to shine, and this year two of those divisions are stepping into the spotlight. While the head coaches are currently competing at featherweight, they’re coaching teams consisting of both bantamweights and middleweights.
A total of 16 contenders have been selected, with remote casting being used in place of physical try-outs due to the current global pandemic.
While both coaches have been able to select contenders from both weight distinctions, there will be two brackets with two winners crowned at the end of the series at bantamweight and middleweight – with each one earning that all-important contract with the UFC.
How can I catch up on other seasons of The Ultimate Fighter?
The Ultimate Fighter has been seeking out the best new talent in MMA for over 16 years, resulting in 29 seasons of historic action. Winners from this ground-breaking reality series include Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Nate Diaz, Kevin Gastelum, current UFC welterweight champion Kamara Usman and current Bellator heavyweight champ, Ryan Bader.
ESPN+ not only gives you access to the latest episodes of The Return of the Ultimate Fighter; you can also stream every single episode of all the previous 28 seasons.
ESPN+ is the only place you can access the past, present and future of The Ultimate Fighter, including The Return of the Ultimate Fighter: Team Volkanovski vs Team Ortega, so click here to sign up and enjoy not only some of the best MMA, but sports action from some of the biggest sports in North America, the UK and around the world.