The Ultimate Fighter returns for a 28th season on August 29, coached by UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and the next challenger for his belt, Kelvin Gastelum. The season is set to feature female featherweights and male heavyweights.
The female cast was announced last month and features Larissa Pacheco, Pannie Kianzad, Katharina Lehner, Marciea Allen, Leah Letson, Julija Stoliarenko, Macy Chiasson and Bea Malecki.
Following the original cast announcement, several featherweight fighters who weren’t picked for the show were full of criticism for the UFC’s selections. Cindy Dandois was furious with the UFC for picking “mostly bantamweights and featherweights with two fights or less”, whilst Zarah Fairn Dos Santos branded the season “a show of bantamweights, not featherweights”. Meanwhile, Pam Sorenson expressed her hopes that the UFC would still sign the “top featherweights”.
Two of the cast members, Pannie Kianzad and Leah Letson, have recently taken to their social media pages to defend their positions on the show.
Kianzad (10-3) explained that she fought the beginning of her career as a featherweight, remaining undefeated and going 5-0. Meanwhile, Letson (4-2) explained that she has spent the majority of her career at featherweight, including her last fight in which she knocked out Elizabeth Phillips in the first-round. Take a look below:
Is basically half and half. Feathers n bantam . A lot of season I have watched the fighters move up a division for being on tuf. I actually went 5-0 in the beginning of my carrier in 145 Ib
— PannieBanzaiKianzad (@PannieKianzad) August 18, 2018
I have actually spent the majority of my career at 145. Of 13 total fights, only 3 have been at bantam. The rest were at featherweight
— Leah Letson (@LeahNidasMMA) August 18, 2018
Fight fans, are you excited for The Ultimate Fighter 28? Who is your early pick to win? Let us know in the comments section below.