UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and top contender Fabricio Werdum will meet in the Octagon later this year, but first to two best big men in the sport will square off as coaches on the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America.
The new season will begin filming later this year in Las Vegas before airing in Latin America on Televisa in Mexico and other free networks in the rest of Latin America.
TUF: Latin America comes on the heels of the announcement of the UFC’s first push into Mexico with the UFC 180 card in Mexico City with Velasquez vs. Werdum headlining along with the finals from the upcoming season of the reality show.
"I’m very excited about this — amazing talent is going to come out of Mexico and Latin America," UFC president Dana White said on Tuesday. "This is a region we are working hard to develop. There is a lot of talent and a lot of great potential in multiple weightclasses. We know that the fans in Mexico and throughout Latin America will totally get behind this thing and it’ll blow up and it’ll be huge just like Brazil."
For Velasquez this will serve as his first time coaching The Ultimate Fighter, which seems to be a right of passage for all champions in the UFC. The former Arizona State wrestler comes out of one of the best camps in the United States — American Kickboxing Academy — so he will have a plethora of top coaches to choose from to help him when he leads his team of competitors on the show.
Werdum will actually have an edge on Velasquez as a TUF coach, as he’s already led a team previously when he took on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the second season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil. Werdum is a long time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor and MMA coach, so this will come as second nature to the top contender in the heavyweight division.
Filming for The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America will take place in Las Vegas with featherweights and bantamweights being showcased on the series.
The show is expected to kick off production following the wrap of The Ultimate Fighter 20, which is also filming in Las Vegas starting in July. TUF: Latin America will pick up immediately following TUF 20 with a debut date to be announced for later this year.