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The Ultimate Fighter 29 cast, premiere date announced

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Alexander Volkanovski (pictured) and Brian Ortega will be the coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 29
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The 29th season of The Ultimate Fighter premieres June 1 on ESPN+, and the UFC has announced the list of fighters competing for contracts with the promotion. With 145-pound champion Alexander Volkanovski and contender Brian Ortega as coaches, the season will feature eight bantamweights and eight middleweights.

This is the third time bantamweights will be featured on TUF, with John Dodson and Chris Holdsworth winning the previous seasons. This year’s 135-pound trophy will be at stake for Daniel Argueta (5-0), Brady Hiestand (4-1), Dustin Lampros (5-0), Vince Murdock (11-6), Mitch Raposo (5-0), Joshua Rettinghouse (16-5), Liudvik Sholinian (9-1), and Ricky Turcios (10-2).

TUF 29 will be the seventh season of the reality show to include middleweights, with the likes of Diego Sanchez, Travis Lutter, and Kevin Gastelum capturing trophies in the past. The 2021 middleweight roster includes Aaron Phillips (5-1), Andre Petroski (5-1), Bryan Battle (4-1), Ryder Newman (3-1), Tresean Gore (3-0), Miles Hunsinger (7-0), Kemran Lachinov (10-3), and Gilbert Urbina (6-1).

The UFC has yet to announce when the TUF 29 Finale event will take place, as well as a date and location for Volkanovski vs. Ortega. The featherweights were originally scheduled to battle on March 27 in Las Vegas but the reigning UFC champion tested positive for COVID-19.