In what will likely wind up being the final season of The Ultimate Fighter, the 28th edition of the show has found their coaches.
UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and middleweight contender Kelvin Gastelum will serve as the coaches for the fall season, leading to a championship fight following the conclusion of the show, likely in December. The official announcement was made during tonight's broadcast of The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale in Las Vegas.
The Ultimate Fighter 28 will feature the heavyweight and women's featherweight divisions. Filming is scheduled to begin shortly with the season set to debut in September on FS1.
While not formally announced, Whittaker and Gastelum are expected to meet at UFC 231 on December 8, which will take place at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, which was also announced on Friday night during an appearance by Dana White on TSN's Sportcentre.
Whittaker and Gastelum are both former TUF winners, marking the first time two former winners of the show will coach against each other. Whittaker won an international edition of the show, winning TUF: The Smashes in 2012, while Gastelum was the winner of the 17th season of the show in April 2013. Both have had great success at 185 after mixed results at 170 pounds. Whittaker has gone on to become the middleweight champion and is undefeated at the weight class. Gastelum has won two straight and earned this opportunity after scoring a win over Jacare Souza at UFC 224 in May.
Whittaker is coming off a Fight Of The Year candidate in a narrow split decision win over Yoel Romero at UFC 225 in June, which ended up being a non-title fight after Romero missed weight. Should both men make weight when they fight, Whittaker's first official title defense will come against Gastelum.