With all the promotion for the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, the UFC really needs the show to be a hit this time around. After some waning viewing figures, the series needed a shot in the arm, and Dana White secured one by bringing in Conor McGregor.
While The Notorious one won't be doing the coaching, instead opting to use the coaches that got him to the top of the game, and taking on more of an advisory role, there has to be some talent on the fighting roster to keep the viewers coming back. And thankfully, there is.
The first episode of the new season aired last night at 3am on BT Sport 2, and will show again at 10pm tonight on Setanta Ireland, and whether you tuned in last night or will be later, you'll need to keep an eye out for these three fighters we have tipped to do well.
Thanh Le - Team USA
The son of a kung-fu expert, Thanh Le is an exiting fighter with an impressive range of striking. A professional record of 4-1 precedes his appearance on The Ultimate Fighter, and Urijah Faber has an explosive weapon at his disposal. The type of fighter than Dana loves to see, expect to see Thanh get a shot in the Octagon even if he doesn't emerge victorious on the show.
Mehdi Baghdad - Team Europe
A training partner of Anderson Silva, Mehdi 'The Sultan' Baghdad is a well rounded fighter and former Mui Thai World champion. With a professional record of 11-3, Baghdad is one of the more experience fighters on the show, and hailing from France, he was forced to leave his home country in order to pursue an MMA career.
Chris Gruetzemacher - Team USA
If the second name is too much for you, he also goes by 'Gritz'. Fighting out of Arizona's MMA Lab, Gruetzemacher has a stellar pro record of 12-1, and has an array of striking weapons such as his powerful knees. His sole loss came in 2009, so six years and 11 wins later he's finally got a chance to impress on the biggest stage.
The Setanta Sports Pack is currently available in Sky, Eircom, and UPC packages and will be showing each episode of The Ultimate Fighter season 22 on BT Sport 2 and Setanta Ireland. The Setanta Sports Pack will also have exclusively live coverage of UFC 194 Aldo v McGregor on December 12th.