FC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and the title challenger Brian Ortega will be the coaches on the new Ultimate Fighter season 29.
The featherweight title fight between reigning champion Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega was pulled from UFC 260 on March 27. Volkanovski was pulled from the card due to COVID-19 protocols, which meant the entire bout had to be scrapped with plans to reschedule the matchup for a later date. The featherweight champion later confirmed that he tested positive for the virus after twice testing negative.
One of Volkanovski’s teammates and training partners Brad Riddell was also pulled from UFC Vegas 22 due to the same COVID-19 protocols, though it’s unknown if the two situations are related.
The fight was supposed to serve as Volkanovski’s second title defense after he defeated Max Holloway to claim the featherweight championship. As for Ortega, he earned the title shot in a lopsided win over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.
Now according to the reports coming in, the UFC has got some new ideas for this duo.
The Ultimate Fighter season 29
After their featherweight title fight was scrapped at UFC 260, champ Alexander Volkanovski and challenger Brian Ortega are set to serve as opposing coaches for the return of The Ultimate Fighter.
UFC president Dana White (@danawhite) tells me Alexander Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) and Brian Ortega (@BrianTcity) will coach The Ultimate Fighter 29, which will start filming later this month and air on ESPN+. Their title fight will be rescheduled at the end of the season.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) April 3, 2021
Volkanovski and Ortega have signed on to the 29th season of the long-running reality series, and it was first reported by ESPN.com.
The show is set to begin filming in the coming weeks, though limited details have been revealed on how the format will vary, if at all, from past seasons. There were rumours Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal would serve as coaches, but then their matchup was pushed up to UFC 261 on April 24, and they were no longer options.
Volkanovski (22-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC) is riding a 19-fight winning streak into his second UFC title defense attempt. Following six straight wins to kick off his UFC tenure, Volkanovski defeated then-champion Max Holloway by unanimous decision at UFC 245 in December 2019.
Seven months later at UFC 251 in July 2020, Volkanovski and Holloway fought for a second time. Volkanovski successfully defended his title for the first time when he defeated Holloway by a split decision.
In October, Ortega (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) returned from a 22-month absence from competition. Throughout five rounds, Ortega dominated surging contender Chan Sung Jung for a unanimous decision and reentered the win column following a devastating title shot loss to Holloway in December 2018.
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