"The Ultimate Fighter" first debuted in 2005 and now 10 years after the show’s inception, the 21st season of the long-running reality series will undergo a dramatic facelift as two of the best teams in all of MMA face off with half a million dollars and bragging rights sitting as the ultimate prize.
On one side of the competition sits American Top Team — a storied team of fighters first founded in 2001 and home to dozens of UFC competitors, including current UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler.
On the other side are the Blackzilians — a gym founded by four former members of American Top Team, who defected from the gym to start their own team and now train alongside some of the best fighters on the planet, including top-ranked middleweight contender Vitor Belfort as well as former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans.
Considering how the rivalry started and the fact that the two gyms sit just 20 minutes away from each other in South Florida, the intense rivalry between American Top Team and the Blackzilians will reach a tipping point with the upcoming season of the reality show.
The new season of "The Ultimate Fighter: American Top Team vs. Blackzilians" will kick off with a special two-hour episode at 10 p.m. ET on April 22 on FOX Sports 1.
The two teams comprised of eight rising welterweight contenders will share a house in South Florida, but in one of the many changes for this new season of the show, the fighters will still work, train and spar with the coaches and teams at their home gyms.
The cast for the new season of "The Ultimate Fighter" includes:
AMERICAN TOP TEAM
Marcelo Alfaya (16-7, 1NC) Porto Alegre, Brazil
Steve Carl (21-4), Belle Plain, Iowa
Nathan Coy (14-5), Vallejo, Calif.
Michael Graves (4-0), Toledo, Ohio
Hayder Hassan (6-1), Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Sabah Homasi (8-4), New Brunswick, N.J.
Uros Jurisic (5-0), Ljubljana, Slovenia
Steve Montgomery (8-2), Florence, S.C.
Valdir Araujo (14-5), Gama, Federal District, Brazil
Carrington Banks (3-0), Peoria, Ill.
Luiz Buscape (16-5), Joao Pessoa, Paraiba, Brazil
Jason Jackson (4-2), Kingston, Jamaica
Vincente Luque (7-4-1), Westwood, NJ
Andrews Nakahara (4-2-2), Mogi das Cruzes, Sao Paolo, Brazil
Felipe Portela (8-2), Brasilia, Brazil
Kamarudeen Usman (5-1), Auchi, Nigeria
The season will pit team against team with the $500,000 prize money being split up based on wins and the overall competition with "The Ultimate Fighter" team trophy going to the gym who eventually wins the entire show.
The fights this season will take place in the two opposing gyms and not a neutral location so each week one of the fighters looking to get a win will be stepping into enemy territory. The winning team will retain control and home gym advantage as the series moves forward each week.
The gyms and teams will select their own fighters for the matchups but in a major switch this season, opponents will not be revealed until the weigh-in begins.
The season will reach its apex later this summer at "The Ultimate Fighter" finale as the members of American Top Team and the Blackzilians compete for the chance to fight in the UFC and the winning gym is finally crowned.