Previewing the new season of Ultimate Fighter: Redemption


The UFC began their ascent in the main stream back in 2005 when they first filmed and aired Season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter. The most talked about event and what many argue was the fight that made the UFC was the final matchup for a 6 figure UFC contract between Forrest Griffin (19-7) and Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar (15-9). The fight aired on Spike TV for free and was a knock down drag out war between these two guys. This was the turning point for the UFC and now heading into season 25 of the reality show the UFC is trying to shake it up yet again. Only once prior did the UFC have previous fighters make up the entire cast of a season and that was all the way back in season 4 called The Comeback. The prize for that season was a title shot and a return to the UFC. That season created one of the best stories in UFC history with Matt “The Terror” Serra (11-7) winning the season and challenging Georges “Rush” St. Pierre (25-2) for the Welterweight Title. Serra knocked out GSP in the very first round and completed the storybook ending. Title shots may not be on the line for Season 25 but there is $250, 000 and a contract with the UFC on the line. All of these guys have had success outside of the UFC’s banner and now with a chance to return the UFC is looking to find their redemption story. One twist is the cast also includes 1 fighter who is on the active roster as well which is a weird twist. The UFC is looking to jumpstart their TV franchise and bringing back fan favorites might certainly do that. Also, don’t let it be forgotten that the show will be coached by former teammates and now Bantamweight rivals Cody “No Love” Garbrandt (11-0 Bantamweight Champion) and TJ Dillashaw (15-3 #2 Ranked Bantamweight). The drama and action will be fast and furious between these two former teammates who now have a major beef following Dillashaw’s split from Team Alpha Male. If the video preview tells us anything there is no love lost between these two. Let’s break down the cast mates:

Seth “The Polish Pistola” Baczynski (20-14)  

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 11: Team Liddell vs. Team Ortiz

Seth Baczynski went 5-5 in his UFC career and had started his UFC career with 4 straight victories. Baczynski is a well-rounded fighter who has the ability to finish with his hands and his submission skills. Since parting ways with the UFC in 2015 following 3 straight losses he has gone 1-1 outside of the Octagon. His first experience on the show ended with an illegal soccer kick that had him disqualified from his quarterfinal fight against current UFC fighter Brad Tavares (14-4).

Julian “Nitrane” Lane (11-7-1)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 16: Team Carwin vs. Team Nelson

Julian Lane is more memorable for his antics inside the Ultimate Fighter house than his actual fighting in the Octagon. Lane won his qualifying fight to earn a spot inside the house on Season 16 but then was dispatched via decision in the elimination round. Lane then proceeded to threaten to fight a housemate for an incident involving a fart in his direction. Lane is absolutely a personality that for anyone who watched his season will certainly draw people into this season. Lane never fought in the actual UFC and has had an up and down record outside of the Octagon in the smaller promotions.

Medhi “The Sultan” Baghdad (11-5)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 22: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber

Medhi Baghdad defeated UFC Fight Night 108 Main Event participant Artem ”The Russian Hammer” Lobov (14-12-1) in his preliminary matchup to gain access to the house. He then dropped his elimination round fight and was eliminated from the tournament. Baghdad did make two appearances in the UFC but dropped both including a split decision loss in July of 2016. Baghdad has heavy hands and can knock his opponents out with 1 punch and being that he was just recently competing at the highest level in the UFC it could give him a good shot.

Dhiego Lima (12-5)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 19: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn

Dhiego Lima won a decision to get into the house and submitted his way through both the elimination and semifinals on his season of the Ultimate Fighter. He then was promptly knocked out in the first round of the finals and finished with a 1-3 record inside the UFC. Lima parted ways with the UFC in 2015 and has gone 2-1 outside of the organization. Lima is a solid fighter who proved that he has some serious skills in the cage. His experience and making the finals of his season certainly gives him a great shot in the house.

Justin “Fast Eddy” Edwards (9-5)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 13: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos

Justin Edwards actually entered the house as a replacement for a fighter who decided to leave the show on his season. He came in with experience in Bellator MMA and was undefeated heading into the show. In the preliminary round, Edwards was knocked out by Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (23-3 #2 Ranked Lightweight) with an up kick. He was also selected as a wild card in the tournament after his loss, but due to being knocked out and suspended by the athletic commission he was unable to compete. Edwards then went on to a 2-5 record inside the UFC and was cut after 3 straight losses in 2015. He has gone 1-0 outside of the UFC.

Ramsey Nijem (9-6)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 13: Team Lesnar vs. Team dos Santos

Ramsey Nijem submitted his first two opponents to make it to the semifinals of his season of the show. He then was able to earn a knockout victory to advance to the finale where he would eventually lose via knockout to Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson (23-3 #2 Ranked Lightweight). Another finalist on the show gives him a bit of an advantage to understanding the pressure the show can put on a fighter. He went 5-5 in the Octagon and was very streaky in both wins and losses following the finale loss to Ferguson. He has not had a fight since leaving the UFC in 2015 after 2 straight losses.

Tom “Da Tank” Gallicchio (19-9)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 22: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber

Tom Gallicchio entered the Ultimate Fighter house with a submission victory in the elimination round. He then lost a decision and was eliminated from the competition. Gallicchio doubted his future in the sport of MMA after his loss but chose to stick with it. Gallicchio is an M1-Global veteran and has fought all around the world. Gallicchio did return to MMA and has not competed inside the UFC and was inactive for almost two years following back to back wins in 2014 and it resulted in a TKO loss in early 2016.

Gilbert “Chocolate Thunder” Smith (12-6)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 17: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen

Gilbert Smith earned his way into the house with an arm triangle choke in the elimination round of Season 17. He was then knocked out with a flying knee in the second round of the elimination round of the tournament. Smith only made one appearance in the UFC and it was on the finale where he suffered a submission loss. He has gone 7-4 outside of the Octagon, but even with winning streaks he was unable to break back into the UFC. He is coming off 2 straight losses in 2016 by decision in Bellator so his competition has remained pretty good compared to some of the regional promotions others have participated in.

Eddie “Truck” Gordon (8-4)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 19: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn

Eddie Gordon is one of the only Ultimate Fighter winners to be appearing on this season of the show. Gordon won 3 straight decisions to get into the finals. In the finals, he knocked out fellow cast mate Dhiego Lima in the very first round. Gordon then lost 3 straight fights inside the UFC and was cut. In 2015. He has had 1 fight since then and it was a split decision victory in August of 2016. The Serra-Longo fighter showed so much promise on his original series and knows what it takes to get it done and be crowned The Ultimate Fighter.

Joe “Daddy” Stevenson (33-16)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 2: Team Hughes vs. Team Franklin

Joe Stevenson is by far the OG of this season. He appeared on and won the Welterweight division of Season 2 with two straight submission victories to reach the finals. In the finals, he won by unanimous decision. Stevenson then spent the next 7 years inside the UFC including a Lightweight title fight against UFC Hall of Famer BJ “The Prodigy” Penn (16-11-2). Stevenson has had some demons outside of the cage that has been publicly documented, but apparently has righted the ship and turned his life around. He is coming off 2 straight wins in 2016 heading into the show.

Hayder Hassan (6-3)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 21: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians

Hayder Hassan was a finalist on season 21 of the show and it was the first season to feature two different fight camps going against each other as opposed to different fighters from across the country coming together. This was a different format than in the past and did not include the traditional tournament. Hassan went on to fight again in the UFC and lost via submission in 2015. He has been inactive since that fight. He did lose in the finale to rising contender Kamaru “The Nigerian Nightmare” Usman (10-1 #10 Ranked Welterweight).

Jesse “JT Money” Taylor (30-15)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 7: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest

Jesse Taylor may be one of the more infamous cast members in Ultimate Fighter history. In fact, he never lost a fight on the show in the house. He went 4-0 including 2 submissions and 2 decision on his way to earning a spot in the finales. However the night after taping wrapped an incident in a Las Vegas club where he was accused of harassing other patrons and fighting with security while proclaiming himself as a UFC fighter. His opportunity at the title Ultimate Fighter was revoked and he was removed from the finale following the incident. He fought one time in the UFC and lost via submission. Since then he has been pretty active outside of the UFC competing in Strikeforce, KSW, and WSOF with some decent success. Taylor went 1-2 in 2016 prior to the show.

James Krause (23-7)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter Season 15: Live

James Krause is the only active contracted UFC fighter on this season of the show. He is actually the first current UFC fighter to ever appear as a cast member of the show. Krause was eliminated in the elimination rounds to get into the house on his season. After not having any success in his original season Krause eventually ended up getting into the UFC in 2013. He has a 4-3 record and is currently riding a 2 fight win streak in the UFC heading into the house. It is an interesting move for an active fighter to enter the Octagon but with the ability to win this tournament and earn some serious cash it is also a big opportunity.

Hector “El Toro” Urbina (17-10)

Original Season: The Ultimate Fighter 19: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn

Hector Urbina won his original fight on the show to gain entry to the house on the show. However, then he lost a decision in the preliminary round and was eliminated from the competition. He followed his appearance on the show with 3 fights inside the UFC going 1-2. His last fight in the UFC was in September of 2016 and it was a knockout loss in the first round. Urbina is a King of the Cage alum and also fought Bellator and ShoFC.


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