After a full night of fights live and free on FOX Sports 1, the UFC will premiere the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show.This season features head coaches Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate, as they lead bantamweight men and women through the toughest tournament in mixed martial arts.
As is the case in every season, there are a handful of favorites heading in to the season. This year is no different.
Of course, there are always sleepers in the crowd that could emerge and steal the show — Jessamyn Duke, Revelina Berto, Sirwan Kakai and Davey Grant — come to mind, but the favorites will generate the most interest heading in to the new season.
Who are the favorites for this season?
First, let’s take a look at the top three women:
Shayna Baszler (15-8)
Sioux Falls, S.D.
Tara LaRosa (21-3)
Roxanne Modafferi (15-10)
Pittsfield, Mass./Yokohama, Japan
As you can see with the women, experience is the name of the game.
Many of the women who were cast on the show are true pioneers in women’s mixed martial arts and the battle tested veterans will provide a tough contest for the up-and-coming fighters looking to make their mark on the show.
With Baszler and LaRosa, the UFC could get some top ten talent on the roster immediately following the show.
And now for the top 135-pound men:
Cody Bollinger (14-2)
Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Danny Martinez (16-4)
San Diego, Calif.
Chris Holdsworth (4-0)
Woodland Hills, Calif.
Bollinger, Martinez and Holdworth have experience training with some of the best in MMA — including Greg Jackson, Alliance MMA, Royce Gracie, Marc Laimon and more — so they no what it takes to succeed at the highest level.
It will be interesting to see who can put everything together at the right time and make a charge towards the TUF crown and six-figure contract.
Who do you think should be considered a favorite to take home the TUF 18 crown? Sound off in the comments section and share your thoughts and predictions for the upcoming season of the show.