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Robert Whittaker, Kelvin Gastelum to fight for UFC middleweight title, coach TUF 28

The next season of The Ultimate Fighter will be coached by middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and his next opponent Kelvin Gastelum.

MMA: UFC 225-Whittaker vs Romero Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

A pair of The Ultimate Fighter winners will be coaching the next, and possibly final season of the UFC’s long-running reality competition.

During Friday night’s TUF 27 Finale broadcast, Kelvin Gastelum confirmed that he and UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will be the head coaches on season 28, which will feature the heavyweight division and women’s featherweights.

Also confirmed is Whittaker’s first title defense coming against Gastelum. No date or venue has been set, but Ariel Helwani reports that the targeted date is December, which likely means either UFC 231 in Toronto on the 8th, or UFC 232 in Las Vegas on the 29th.

Whittaker (20-4) won a thrilling split decision in his rematch vs. Yoel Romero at UFC 225 last month. The title was not on the line for the TUF: Smashes winner due to Romero missing weight, so technically speaking, this is going to be his first title defense. The Australian suffered a broken hand during this bout, and is recovering from surgery.

Gastelum (15-3, 1 NC) is coming off a split decision win over Ronaldo Souza at UFC 224, which came a few months after his first-round KO of former champion Michael Bisping at UFC Shanghai. The season 17 TUF winner has been campaigning for a title shot, and now he’s got one.

TUF 28: Heavy Hitters premieres in the fall and concludes in December.

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