Another 32 hopeful Mixed Martial Artists will once again step into the UFC Octagon for a chance at greatness and the six figure contract that comes with becoming the next Ultimate Fighter. The 16th domestic season of The Ultimate Fighter begins this Friday on FX and features fighters from the welterweights division.
The reality series is going back to the taped format after the one season “live” experiment didn’t pan out last season. What hasn’t changed though is the exciting first episode which will see all 32 fighters step into the cage in 16 elimination bouts to earn your way into the house.
As is customary with any season of The Ultimate Fighter, the cast is made up of names you might know and others you’re hearing for the first time. With days before the cast makes their debut we’ve highlighted the TUF 16 cast by picking out some of the notables, along with noting some interesting tidbits.
The Ultimate Fighter 16 Hopefuls:
- Cortez Coleman (8-3) 30, trains out of the HIT squad in St. Louis, Missouri but is fighting out of Hugo, Oklahoma. Coleman is coming off a KOTC win against Brandon Lyons and holds a win over fellow TUF 16 participant George Lockhart.
- Bristol Marunde (12-7) 30, is fighting out of Throwdown training center in Las Vegas, Nevada. He’s coming off a submission loss to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza back at Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey in March.
- Sam Alvey (19-4) 26, should ring a bell to MMA fans as he spoiled the Bellator debut of Karl Amoussou back at Bellator 45. Alvey trains at the Team Quest in Murrieta, Calif. and has fought at light heavyweight and most recently middleweight.
- George Lockhart (10-4) 29, has only fought once since 2009 and is better known for his work with many fighters as a nutrition Consultant. Fighting out of Atlanta, Georgia, Lockhart served as a member of the Marine Corps. and had made previous attempts at being a part of the reality show.
- Igor Araujo (22-6, 1nc) 31, comes from Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico via Patos De Minas, Brazil. Araujo has won his last three bouts and 17 of those 22 wins have come via some form of submission.
- Leo Kuntz (14-1-1) 28, is a North Dakota fighter that is unbeaten is his last 12 fights (11-0-1) and hasn’t lost since 2009.
- Mike Ricci (7-2) 26, has gone 2-2 over his last four with the losses coming against TUF Alum Daron Cruickshank and Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran. Ricci also fights out of the Tristar gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
- Ricky Legere Jr. (14-4) 26, is coming off the biggest win of his career when he defeated Chris Spang in his Strikeforce debut on January 7th. Legere Jr. fights out of the Millennia MMA Gym in Lake Forest, California and has won four in a row.
- Saad Awad (11-4) 23, fights out of the same gym as Legere Jr. and is riding a three fight winning streak. Awad is no stranger to the big lights having made short stops in Strikeforce and Bellator.
- Cameron Diffley (3-0) 27, is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Ricardo Pires and is the BJJ instructor at the Throwdown training center Las Vegas, Nevada. This will be the second Ultimate fighter appearance for Diffley as he was the Jiu-Jitsu coach for Forrest Griffin on TUF 7.
- Julian Lane (4-0) 25, is coming off a first round submission win at Bellator 66 against Joe Heiland and has yet to make it into the third round. Lane fights out of Mansfield, Ohio and is a former lightweight who will be making the move up in weight for a chance at the UFC.
Including the two above fighters The Ultimate Fighter 16 will have eight fighters, or a fourth of the cast who are currently undefeated in their professional careers:
- David Michaud (4-0) 23, Pine Ridge, S.D.
- Jason South (8-0) 34, West Jordan, Utah
- Jesse Barrett (8-0) 26, Tempe, Arizona.
- Lev Magen (4-0) 25, Las Vegas, Nev.
- Michael Hill (4-0) 25, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada
- Zane Kamaka (4-0) 23, Klaianae, Hawaii
Another fourth of the cast comes into the series off a loss, needing to get back into the win column to enter the house:
- Colton Smith (3-1) 25, Fort Hood, Texas via Ankeny, Iowa
- Dom Waters (5-1) 23, Santa Rosa, Calif.
- Diego Bautista (7-1, 1nc) 26, Lakewood, Calif.
- Jerel Clark (5-1) 23, Reno, Nev.
- Joey Rivera (7-1) 32, Tucson, Ariz.
- Matt Secor (1-1) 25, South Glens Falls, N.Y.
- Max Griffin (4-1) 26, Sacramento, Calif.
- Nic Herron-Webb (11-3) 22, Anchorage, Alaska
Rounding out the cast are these seven fighters looking to make a big splash:
- Eddy Ellis (17-15-1, 1nc) 29, Olympia, Wash.,
- Frank Camacho (10-2) 23, Camp Springs, Md.,
- James Chaney (7-2) 25, Klamath Falls, Ore.
- Jon Manley (7-1) 26, Ludlow, Mass.
- Kevin Nowaczyk (11-2) 23, Chicago, Ill.
- Neil Magny (7-1) 24, Chicago, Ill.
- Tim Ruberg (9-1) 30, Harrison, Ohio
The Ultimate Fighter 16 premiere will be this Friday September 14th on FX at 9pm ET/PT.