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Alexander Volkanovski, Brian Ortega to serve as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 29

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

After their featherweight title fight was cancelled at UFC 260, champ Alexander Volkanovski and challenger Brian Ortega are set to serve as opposing coaches for the return of The Ultimate Fighter.

Volkanovski and Ortega have signed on to the 29th season of the long-running reality series, multiple people told MMA Fighting after an initial report from ESPN.com citing UFC President Dana White.

A date has not been set for the re-booking of the fight that was cancelled by a positive COVID-19 test from Volkanovski, who was set to make his second title defense against Ortega before a failed test forced the UFC to remove him from this past Saturday’s fight card. But as in previous seasons, coaches are expected to face off at the conclusion of the reality series.

The Ultimate Fighter’s fate has remained a question mark for some time, and a planned return this past year was cancelled at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. White, though, has consistently promised fans the reality show would return at some point and was a flagship of UFC programming despite a downward trend in ratings in later seasons.

The 28th season filmed in 2018 and featured then-middleweight champ Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum. The season featured heavyweights and women’s featherweights.

For the upcoming season, the reality show will feature bantamweights and middleweights competing for a UFC contract. Filming begins later this month, White told ESPN.