Five new fights have been added to
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 16 finale.
Promotion officials announced Tuesday that the Dec. 1 show will see
welterweights Mike Pyle
(Pictured) and Nick Catone
collide with James Head
Waldburger, while lightweight Rustam
Khabilov makes his Octagon debut against “TUF 15” vet Vinc Pichel.
Additionally, bantamweights Reuben
Duran and Johnny
Bedford will be in action, squaring off with Hugo Viana
Marcos Vinicius Borges Pancini, respectively.
The reality show’s live finale will also showcase a heavyweight
confrontation between coaches Shane
Carwin and Roy Nelson,
as well as a welterweight contest pitting the show’s
to-be-announced finalists against each other for a six-figure UFC
contract. The event takes place at The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel
and Casino in Las Vegas. The evening’s main card airs on the FX
network, while Fuel TV carries the prelims.
Pyle, 37, has won five of his last six, most recently knocking out
fellow veteran Josh Neer with
a devastating right cross that relieved “The Dentist” of his
consciousness on June 8 at UFC on FX 3. Meanwhile, Head, 28, has
been perfect since making the cut to 170 pounds from middleweight,
submitting Papy Abedi in
April before narrowly outpointing Brian
Ebersole three months later at UFC 149.
Another former middleweight, Catone will also make the drop to 170
pounds for his Dec. 1 appearance. “The Jersey
Devil” last competed on June 22, suffering a technical knockout
Camozzi at UFC on FX 4 due to a large forehead laceration. In
Waldburger, Catone faces a slick grappler with 12 career
submissions to his credit. Like his opponent, Waldburger also
competed last at UFC on FX 4, dropping a unanimous decision to
Beaten just once in 14 career appearances, Khabilov, 25, makes his
Octagon debut riding a three-fight winning streak. Pichel,
meanwhile, has never lost in a sanctioned contest, though he was
outpointed by cast mate Al Iaquinta
in an exhibition bout during the semifinals of “TUF 15.”
Duran has not competed since June 2011, when he choked out the
Rivera at the “TUF 13” finale. Better known on the Brazilian
circuit at Hugo “Wolverine,” Viana has gone undefeated as a
professional, most recently edging fellow “TUF: Brazil” alum
Teixeira da Conceicao at UFC 147 on June 23.
A semifinalist on “TUF 14,” Bedford rebounded from his exhibition
knockout loss to John Dodson
to emerge victorious in his official UFC debut, dominating the
Gaudinot at the season's Dec. 3 finale. Known to UFC fans as
Vinicius,” Pancini has won four straight fights, ending his run
on “TUF: Brazil” by knocking out cast mate Wagner
Campos at UFC 147.