SI.com, courtesy of Spike TV, has revealed the names of the 32 fighters invited to Las Vegas by the UFC to compete for the 16 final spots on the eighth season of the hit reality television show “The Ultimate Fighter.”
Last season saw 32 middleweights compete for the right to become the next “Ultimate Fighter” but this year the season has been broken down into two weight classes: light heavyweight and lightweight with 16 fighters in each weight class once again going through a qualifying round of fights to earn a spot in the final eight and the opportunity to move into the TUF mansion.
Serving as the coaches for TUF 8 will be current UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and former champion and current number one contender Frank Mir.
The show will premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at 11:00 p.m. ET immediately following UFC Fight Night 15 from Omaha, Nebraska.
The full cast of 32 with our notes is available after the jump.
- Ryan Bader: 24-years old; 7-0; Arizona Combat Sports
- Antwain Britt: 29-years old; 4-0; Bombsquad MMA
- Jules Bruchez: 30-years old; 3-2; Ronin Dojo
- Lance Evans: 30-years old; 4-2; TKO MMA
- Karen Grigoryan: 26-years old; 5-0; RusFighters Sports Club
- Jason Guida: 30-years old; 26-13; Hellhouse Gym
- Ryan Jimmo: 26-years old; 6-1; Titans MMA
- Kyle Kingsbury: 26-years old; 7-1-1; American Kickboxing Academy
- Tom Lawlor: 24-years old; 6-2; American Top Team
- Ryan Lopez: 25-years old; 5-3; no gym affiliation
- Vinicius Magalhaes: 23-years old; 2-2; Team Quest (Temecula)
- Eric Magee: 23-years old; 3-1; South Shore Sport Fighting
- Eliot Marshall: 27-years old; 5-1; Easton Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
- Sean O’Connell: 24-years old; 1-0; no gym affiliation
- Shane Primm: 23-years old; 1-0; Gracie Tampa
- Krzysztof Soszynski: 30-years old; 16-8-1; Team Quest (Temecula)
Notes: TUF 8 is getting into the brother act as both Guida and Evans have younger brothers competing in the UFC. Lance Evans is of course the older brother of UFC light heavyweight Rashad Evans and Jason Guida is indeed the brother of UFC lightweight Clay Guida… The selection of Primm means that this is four seasons in a row in which a fighter from Rob Kahn’s Gracie Tampa school has been chosen for the TUF cast. Primm joins Alan “Monsta Lobsta” Berube, Matt Arroyo, and Brandon Sene as Kahn students to appear on the show… Soszynski is a former heavyweight competitor in the IFL. UFC President Dana White was extremely critical of the IFL while it was in existence but the UFC hasn’t been shy about recruiting their former fighters… Keep an eye on Bader. He comes from Trevor and Todd Lally’s Arizona Combat Sports, the same gym where C.B. Dalloway, Jamie Varner, Steve Steinbess, Ray Steinbeiss, and other top MMA fighters train.
- Jose Aguilar: 25-years old; 17-3; Grapplers Edge
- Fernando Bernstein: 25-years old; 2-0; Progressive Martial Arts
- Junie Allen Browning: 22-years old; 2-0; Four Seasons Martial Arts
- Rolando Delgado: 26-years old; 7-3-1; Westside Fight Team
- Joseph Duarte: 24-years old; 3-0; Unleashed Training Facility
- Charles Diaz: 30-years old; 14-4; Team EFX
- Efrain Escudero: 22-years old; Southwest Martial Arts
- Brandon Garner: 26-years old; 4-1; Team ROC
- David Kaplan: 28-years old; 3-1; Team Lloyd Irvin
- Brian McLaughlin: 23-years old; 5-0; Gracie Tampa
- Wesley Murch: 25-years old; 4-2; Trojan Gym
- Shane Nelson: 24-years old; 11-3; B.J. Penn’s MMA Academy
- Phillipe Nover: 24-years old; 5-0-1; Team Renzo Gracie
- Ido Pariente: 30-years old; 13-4; no gym affiliation
- John Polakowski: 26-years old; 3-1; The Pit
- George Roop: 26-years old; 7-3; Ultima MMA
Notes: McLaughlin gives Gracie Tampa two fighters on the TUF cast in one season… Pariente is the same fighter who got smashed by Jake Shields in June of 2007 in Los Angeles during FEG’s infamous “Dynamite USA!!” Pariente was born and resides in Israel and has a great back story. He’s a better fighter than he showed vs. Shields… Nelson is considered to be one of B.J. Penn’s better prospects… Polakowski is one of Chuck Liddell’s teammates at “The Pit” with John Hackleman in San Luis Obispo.
Feel free to comment and add any insight you have on the fighters listed here.