Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega will serve as opposing coaches for “The Ultimate Fighter 29.”
UFC president Dana White confirmed the news to ESPN. The long-running reality show, which hasn’t aired since 2018, is expected to begin filming later this month. The latest iteration will feature competitors at middleweight and bantamweight and will stream on ESPN+.
Volkanovski and Ortega were scheduled to square off in a featheweight championship bout in the co-main event of UFC 260 on March 27, but Volkanovski was forced to withdraw after testing positive for COVID-19. Volkanovski will be rebooked at some point after “TUF 29.”
The reality show was initially supposed to premiere in March but was postponed when tryouts were delayed due to the pandemic. The most recent edition of the series, “TUF 28,” premiered in August 2018 and featured Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum as opposing coaches. The show included men’s heavyweights and women’s featherweights, with Juan Espino and Macy Chiasson emerging victorious at the “TUF 28” finale.
Volkanovski claimed featherweight gold with a five-round verdict against Max Holloway at UFC 245 and successfully defended the crown with a contentious split verdict over the Hawaiian in their rematch at UFC 251 this past July. The 32-year-old City Kickboxing representative has won 19 consecutive fights — including nine in the UFC.
Ortega, meanwhile, will get a second shot at the 145-pound belt after taking a beating from Holloway in a fourth-round TKO defeat at UFC 231 in December 2018. After nearly two years on the sideline, “T-City” returned with a unanimous decision triumph over Chan Sung Jung at UFC Fight Night 180 on Oct. 17.