Alexander Volkanovski, Brian Ortega set to coach ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ return season on ESPN

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Mike Bohn
·1 min read
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“The Ultimate Fighter” reality series is back, and the coaches are set.

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and top contender Brian Ortega will coach the next season of the show, which hasn’t aired since 2018.

MMA Junkie verified the news with a person close to the situation after UFC president Dana White announced the news to broadcast partner ESPN on Friday.

The show is set to beginning 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 rumors Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington would serve as coaches, but then their matchup was pushed up to UFC 261 on April 24 and they were no longer options.

But Volkanovski and Ortega became available after their title fight at UFC 260 on March 27 was canceled when Volkanovski tested positive for COVID-19.

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 split decision.

In October, Ortega (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) returned from a 22-month absence from competition. Over the course of 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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