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The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir


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The identities of the 32 cast members who will appear on the upcoming eighth season of "The Ultimate Fighter" were released today.

Si.com revealed the names, records and training camps of all 32 fighters involved in "The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir."

The upcoming season of "The Ultimate Fighter" features two 16-man tournaments. Lightweights and light-heavyweights will both be seeking UFC contracts. Filming recently concluded and the season debuts Sept. 17 on SpikeTV.

This season's competitors include:

LIGHTWEIGHT

* Jose Aguilar

* Fernando Bernstein

* Junie Allen Browning

* Rolando Delgado

* Joseph Duarte

* Charles Diaz

* Efrain Escudero

* Brandon Garner

* David Kaplan

* Brian McLaughlin

* Wesley Murch

* Shane Nelson

* Phillipe Nover

* Ido Pariente

* John Polakowski

* George Roop

LIGHT-HEAVYWEIGHT

* Ryan Bader

* Antwain Britt

* Jules Bruchez

* Lance Evans

* Karen Grigoryan

* Jason Guida

* Ryan Jimmo

* Kyle Kingsbury

* Tom Lawlor

* Ryan Lopez

* Vinicius Magalhaes

* Eric Magee

* Eliot Marshall

* Sean O'Connell

* Shane Primm

* Krzysztof Soszynski

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The eighth installment of the UFC's and Spike TV's groundbreaking series "The Ultimate Fighter" will seem awfully familiar to longtime fans of the show, but if the season debut is any indication, the series will get a much-needed injection of personality this year.

"The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir" debuts Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Spike TV following a broadcast of UFC Fight Night 15.

The show features UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and former champ Frank Mir as coaches.

According to Mir, who had friendly banter with Nogueira throughout the debut episode, he felt more like a big brother than a coach during his time on the show.

"Overall, it was a good experience," Mir told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I really enjoyed working with the guys. It was kind of like a little bit of a brothership going in there. You build up relationships with the guys and try to help them out.

"It wasn't really like I was a coach and they were the fighters-type scenario. It was pretty much like, 'We're all in this together. I just happen to be in a role where I'm coaching. And I'm not stepping in the ring, but you are. What can I do to help you out to do the best you can?'"

Like season seven, "TUF 8" features a preliminary round. So, rather than the traditional 16 fighters, Dana White and Co. brought 32 fighters (actually, 33 -- but more on that later) to Las Vegas, and to earn a spot on the cast, each must first win a fight. Sixteen light heavyweights and 16 lightweights compete in the elimination round, though only half the fights are shown during the first episode.

Despite so much action crammed into the hour-long debut, a few fighters still manage plenty of TV time. Jason Guida, a 34-fight veteran and the older brother of UFC lightweight Clay Guida, will have more notoriety in the MMA community after the episode airs. Viewers are bound to either love or hate Junie Browning. We see Lance Evans (brother of top UFC light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans) try to deal with an injury. IFL veteran Krzysztof Soszynski catches White's attention -- but not necessarily in a good way. One fighter fails to make weight, prompting a guest visit from Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer and the emergence of a reserve fighter, and one hopeful hits the mat and is down for the count before the first bout even takes place.

All of the elimination fights take place under the watchful eyes of White, Mir and Nogueira. The two coaches will choose teams after next week's final preliminary fights take place.

Nogueira recently said that his coaching gig, which will culminate with a Nogueira-Mir title fight in December, came naturally to him.

"I grew up coaching a lot," Nogueira. said. "I've been coaching my team for a couple years. I grew up in martial arts. I started in jiu-jitsu and boxing. I have experience as a coach before. Before I became a pro fighter, I was coaching. So, it wasn't that hard.

After a run of regular episodes, "The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir" concludes with a live finale on Dec. 13 in Las Vegas. Both a lightweight and light-heavyweight winner will be crowned.

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