It’s official. UFC and SpikeTV announced today that season 6 of The Ultimate Fighter will feature Team Serra against Team Hughes. This amounts to current Welterweight Champion Matt Serra leading his team of Ultimate Fighting hopefuls against past champion Hughes’ team. In what has become a prevailing theme of The Ultimate Fighter, a future match between the coaches has already been booked for November, 2007.
For UFC fans, the coach rivalry here has far more interesting angles than previous pairings. Until now, arguable, Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock’s infamous rivalry was probably the most dynamic, but resulted in an anticlimactic clash between two fighters who are thought to be exiting their primes.
Serra and Hughes both have celebrated careers in the octagon. Hughes holds victories over many of the sports legends, including Royce Gracie. A devote Christian, Hughes notably released a solidly applied arm bar on Gracie after the Brazilian refused to tap out for fear of breaking the legendary fighter’s arm. Hughes’ attitude is widely recognized as one of the best examples of sportsmanship within the often-brutal sport.
Hughes has been a coach before on The Ultimate Fighter, during season two, and was a guest coach in season five. Serra, who was a student of the Gracie family, previously appeared as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter Season 4: The Comeback, which was essentially an opportunity for failed fighters to reenter the octagon. His win gave him a title shot against raining Welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre, and Serra stunned the world by winning the title.
As usual, teams will compete in elimination fights and the winner will receive a development contract with UFC. Since bringing winning criteria to a more humane level, and producing softer broadcast television events, UFC has rapidly risen to the acclaim of boxing, and many are predicting the mainstream acceptance of the unique sport will continue to challenge Boxing for pay-per-view dollars.
– Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of UFC)