With just three weeks to go before a new season of The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC has announced the the 32 fighters who will be on the 18th installment of the reality TV competition. For the first time ever, both men's and women's fighters will be competing, training, and living together in the Las Vegas TUF house. Originally, women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was going to coach opposite Cat Zingano, but Zingano's knee injury forced a switch to Miesha Tate, who despite losing to Zingano in April, will take her coaching spot and title shot vs. Rousey.
These are the men's and women's bantamweights who you'll be seeing over the next few months on their way to the December season finale:
Women's Bantamweight Fighters
Shayna Baszler (15-8), 33, Sioux Fall, S.D.
Revelina Berto (3-1), 24, Winter Haven, Fla.
Jessamyn Duke (2-0-1), 27, Richmond, Ky.
Tonya Evinger (11-6), 32, Lake St. Louis, Mo.
Laura Howarth (4-0), 26, Hove, East Essex, ENG
Tara LaRosa (21-3), 35, Albuquerque, N.M.
Valerie Letourneau (4-3), 30, La Prairie, CAN
Bethany Marshall (4-1), 25, Newport News, Va.
Sarah Moras (3-1), 25, Kelowna, CAN
Margaret "Peggy" Morgan (2-0), 33, Nashua, N.H.
Gina Mazany (3-0), 25, Seattle, Wash.
Roxanne Modafferi (15-10), 30, Pittsfield, Mass.
Julianna Pena (4-2), 24, Spokane, Wash.
Raquel Pennington (3-3), 24, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Jessica Rakoczy (1-3), 36, Las Vegas, Nev.
Colleen Schneider (4-3), 31, Las Vegas, Nev.
Male Bantamweight Fighters
Christopher Beal (7-0), 28, Somis, Calif.
Cody Bollinger (14-3), 22, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Louis Fisette (6-1), 23, Winnipeg, CAN
Rafael Freitas (6-0-1), 29, Albuquerque, N.M.
David Grant (8-1), 27, Bishop Auckland, ENG
Tim Gorman (9-2), 30, West Des Moines, Iowa
Anthony Gutierrez (4-0), 22, Lee's Summit, Mo.
Emil Hartsner (4-0), 23, Luberod, SWE
Joshua Hill (9-0), 26, Binbrook, CAN
Chris Holdsworth (4-0), 25, Woodland Hills, Calif.
Patrick Holohan (9-0-1), 25, Dublin, IRL
Sirwan Kakai (9-1), 23, Coconut Creek, Fla.
Daniel Martinez (18-4), 28, San Diego, Calif.
Matthew Munsey (4-1), 26, Hollywood, Fla.
Lee Sandmeier (9-0), 30, Knoxville, Iowa
Michael Wootten (6-0), 24, Liverpool, ENG
Chances are the women's bantamweights are the more recognizable names, and that's not surprising given several of them have fought on Strikeforce and/or Invicta shows. Modafferi fought twice in Strikeforce, including a title loss to Sarah Kaufman. Baszler, LaRosa, Pennington, and others have spent time in Invicta, with Baszler earning FOTN honors in her main event loss to Sara McMann at InvictaFC 2. Lastly,
As far as the men, Cody Bollinger was the 9th ranked featherweight on the 2011 BE scouting report, and fought in Bellator last year, losing to Shahbulat Shamhalaev in October. Joshua Hill has been a fixture on the regional scene in eastern Canada, particularly on the (now defunct) Score Fighting Series.
TUF 18 premieres on Wednesday, September 4th at 11 PM ET on Fox Sports 1, following the completion of UFC Fight Night: Teixeira vs. Bader, which starts at 8 PM ET.
At the bottom of the page we have two playlists (courtesy of Zombie Prophet) featuring the majority of the cast members.