Last night was the world premiere of The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption. The concept for the 25th season of the reality-based television show gives former contestants a second chance.
The coaches for this season are Ohio native and current UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt (11-0, 6-0 UFC) and former UFC bantamweight champion and teammate TJ Dillashaw (14-3, 10-3 UFC). These two have a history together as they were once teammates at Team Alpha Male before Dillashaw parted ways.
His departure, which depending on the version you hear, caused a riff between him and his former teammates. This tension had been building over the last couple of months in the lead up to Garbrandt’s title fight against then-champ Dominic Cruz.
The heated rivalry has now paved the way for the two to host this season’s The Ultimate Fighter. The two will finally meet inside the cage to settle their differences in the co-main event at UFC 213.
During last night’s episode, the coaches had the opportunity to evaluate all 17 contestants before making their selections.
Dillashaw won the coin toss and had the opportunity to choose between first pick or first fight. He elects to pick the first fighter.
With the first overall pick, Dillashaw calls on the only current UFC fighter in the house, James Krause. Krause was on the first and only live season of The Ultimate Fighter, The Ultimate Fighter: Live.
After Dillashaw had made his selection, it was time for Garbrandt to make his first pick- second overall. He chose season 11 contestant, Seth Baczynski.
The two coaches then alternated picks until all 14 fighters were selected.
When the selection process was completed, Garbrandt initially calls his team, Team Midwest. Loyal to his home state, Garbrandt picked fellow Ohio fighters Justin Edwards (9-5, 2-6 UFC), Hector Urbina (17-10-1, 1-2 UFC), and Julian Lane (11-6-1).
Mansfield, Ohio native, Edwards who currently resides in Bellefontaine, Ohio first made his appearance during Season 11, Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos. Edwards lost his first match-up in the house against eventual winner Tony Ferguson. After the show, Edwards would go on to compete seven more times inside the Octagon before getting cut by the organization after losing three straight fights.
Currently residing in Coconut Creek, Florida, Urbina spent a portion of his career living in the Buckeye state. His first six professional fights took place in the Ohio Valley region. Urbina was featured on Season 19, Team Edgar vs. Team Penn. Urbina ended up dropping a unanimous decision to Cathal Pendred during the second round of that season.
Urbina would go on to fight three more times in the UFC. Unfortunately, Urbina came into the house this season on the heavier side. He was forced to withdraw from the show and was replaced by Johnny Nunez.
Also, a resident of Mansfield, Ohio the world famous “let me bang, bro,” Lane was introduced to the world on the sixteenth installment of The Ultimate Fighter, Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson. Lane came up short in the elimination round dropping a unanimous decision to Cameron Diffley.
That fight was the only time Lane has stepped into the Octagon.
Now with Urbina out of the picture, it is up to Justin Edwards and Julian Lane to show the world what the Ohio Valley, and in particular Ohio, is all about.
New episodes of The Ultimate Fighter: Team Garbrandt vs. Team Dillashaw air on Fox Sports 1 at 10 PM EST.