September often means the start of a new season of The Ultimate Fighter, but this year it actually signals the start of two seasons of the reality series.  While American fans tune in weekly on Friday night for TUF 16, fans in Australia will tune in Wednesday nights to cheer their countryman on against a rival team of fighters from the United Kingdom.

The teams, which will consist of lightweight and featherweights, will be coached by lightweight TUF alum.  George Sotiropoulos will head the Australian contingent and Ross Pearson will lead the U.K. team.

While fight fans in most regions of the world, including the United States, will turn to the internet to view episodes of TUF Smashes at tuf.tv, fans in the rival nations represented on the show will be able to watch the entire season on television.  In Australia, the episodes will air on the Australian version of FX, channel 123 on FOXTEL, on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. AEST.  In the United Kingdom, fans will have to stay up late, as the episodes will air Wednesdays at midnight on ESPN UK. Online episodes will be available on Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET for those outside of the participating nations. The series will conclude with a three-hour fight card finale in December.

Each nation will be represented by four fighters from each of the two weight classes.  Here is an introduction to the combatants.

Lightweights – Team Australia

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Grant Blackler
Sunshine Coast
Age 23
Record: 8-0
Twitter:@gmblackler
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The “Bull Ant” trains with the Queensland-based Ignite MMA camp. He is a wrestler who prefers to wear down opponents with a ground-and-pound attack. Listed as a featherweight, Blackler might face a size disadvantage while competing at 155 pounds on the reality show. He has put up three submissions and three TKO’s, but it must be noted that all of his submissions came via rear-naked choke against a single nemesis, Mike Aarts, who holds a 1-4 career mark. Aarts is indicative of the level of competition Blackler has fought throughout his career. The best fighter he has locked horns with holds a .500 record. And even worse, those fights all came at a lighter weight.

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Patrick Iodice
Gold Coast
Age 19
Record: 5-0
Twitter:@iodice15
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The youngest participant on the show, Iodice has been fighting professionally since 2009. The Shindo MMA product has posted five wins thus far, plus a victory as an amateur. That amateur win and three of his pro victories have come via TKO. “Ironfist” has pushed himself in his last two outings, taking on quality opposition in the form of Damien Brown (7-3) and Greg Atzori (11-2). He edged out Atzori via majority decision and needed a mere seven seconds to dispose of Brown by way of TKO.

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Richie Vaculik
Sydney
Age 29
Record: 9-1
Twitter:@RichieVaculik
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The biggest issue for “Vas” in this competition will be his size—he typically competes as a bantamweight, 20 pounds below the lightweight limit he’ll see on TUF. While he might not have size, he will have a great amount of experience compared to his lightweight cohorts on the reality show. Vaculik has faced the likes of Michael Mortimer (16-4), Gustavo Falciroli (12-4), Nick Honstein (12-6) and Matt Jaggers (20-8). Except for a unanimous decision loss to Falciroli, Vaculik found his hand raised in all of those affairs (twice against Mortimer, in fact, including a first-round knockout of the veteran in Vaculik’s pro debut). The reality show might prove to be the TP Fight Team product’s ticket into the UFC, where he can then return to his more natural weight. Yet, despite the size disadvantage, it’s hard to count out an accomplished grappler (six submission victories, including four first-round finishes) who has also shown a proficiency in the striking department (three first-round wins by some form of knockout, including a 12-second KO performance).

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Ben Wall
Brisbane
Age 23
Record: 6-0
Twitter:@BenWallMMA
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“Manimal” is the grinder among the Australian team’s lightweights. The Advance Martial Arts fighter has stopped just two foes out of the six he has faced since his pro debut in 2010. After two rear-naked choke submissions, Wall has settled into a steady rhythm of going the distance. He has tallied three unanimous verdicts, a split decision and a draw. While his two most recent unanimous nods have come against quality opposition in the form of Nick Honstein (12-6) and Rob Lisita (10-5), his split verdict came against a debuting fighter who has not fought since.

[divider]Lightweights – Team U.K.

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Colin Fletcher
Sunderland
Age 29
Record: 8-1
Twitter:@dr_freakshow
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If there’s entertainment to be provided outside of the cage on this particular edition of The Ultimate Fighter, “Freakshow” might be the man to keep an eye on. His persona includes evil-clown makeup and his ring entrance often suits his nickname. Inside the cage, the 6-foot-2 Sunderland Fight Pit product prefers to target his opponent’s neck and end fights quickly via choke. That’s not to say that he can’t hold his own on his feet, where he recently utilized his Muay Thai skills to score a unanimous verdict over striker Jason Ball (18-11). His other significant wins have come via second-round rear-naked choke over Myles Price (7-3) and a first-round brabo choke finish of Matt Inman (8-3). He did succumb to Dean Caldwell (5-1) in a TKO loss.

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Norman Parke
Bushmills, North Ireland
Age 25
Record: 16-2
Twitter:@norman_parke
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“Stormin” Norman Parke provides the reality show with an Irish prospect. He also enters with a record that suggests that he will be the favorite amongst the lightweights. The Next Generation NI and Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu fighter has fought 18 times in his career, and has found his hand raised in all but two of those outings. Parke’s first loss came by way of rear-naked choke in his pro debut against Greg Loughran (22-18). After a ten-fight winning streak, he again succumbed to a rear-naked choke at the hands of Joseph Duffy (10-1), a fight he took on just a week’s notice. While he holds two wins over Ali Maclean (9-5) and a victory over Mick Bowman (8-3), it should be noted that a number of his wins have come against foes with either losing records or records floating at or just above the .500 mark. Before undertaking a career in MMA, Parke was an Irish freestyle wrestling champion, and his skill set also includes judo throws, giving Parke two ways to put his opponent on the mat where he can attack with ground-and-pound before seeking his preferred method of finishing—the submission, which has often come in the form of a rear-naked choke or guillotine choke.

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Michael Pastou
Essex
Age 30
Record: 9-2 (1 NC)
Twitter:@hulkmma
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Pastou might have one of the more interesting entries on his fight resume of any fighter on the show. His no-contest, in a 2010 bout versus Robbie Olivier, came as a result of a fan riot. Not many fighters can claim that distinction. To top it off, two of his wins have come by disqualification. Meanwhile, the American Top Team and Team Titan Fighter has lost just twice—via head kick knockout to Tim Radcliffe (12-4) and by way of rear-naked choke submission in his pro debut versus current UFC fighter John Maguire (18-3). Pastou handed Mark Glover (6-1) the only loss of his career and defeated Jake Bostwick (11-8), but has mostly competed against low-level competition under the Cage Rage and UCMMA banners. The former Cage Rage lightweight champion has trained alongside TUF Smashes castmates Bola Omoyele and Luke Newman as well as UFC veterans Brad Pickett and Jason Young.

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Mike Wilkinson
Leigh
Age 24
Record: 7-0
Twitter:@M_WilkinsonMMA
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Wilkinson is another of the TUF Smashes hopefuls that will have to overcome a move up in weight. The Atherton Submission Wrestling product typically competes at featherweight. Wilkinson has submitted Ali Maclean (9-5), but the majority of the 24-year-old’s victories have come against low-level competition, including a win over a fighter whose record sits at 4-32. Yet, Wilkinson has finished all but one of his foes and has mixed submissions and TKO’s into his record, proving that he is adept at both grappling and striking.

[divider]Welterweights – Team Australia

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Ben Alloway
Gold Coast
Age 31
Record: 12-3
Twitter:@Bennyblancomma
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“Benny Blanco” trains out of Fiore MMA and has compiled a record featuring five (T)KO’s, four submissions and three decision wins. On the other side of the coin, the Queensland native has proven susceptible to submissions. His three losses have come via first-round guillotine choke versus Luke Peters (3-2), second-round rear-naked choke against TUF castmate Robert Whittaker (9-2) and third-round armbar versus Ben Mortimer (7-6). His most notable wins have come against Mauro Chimento Jr. (14-9) and Corey Nelson (10-4). In addition to Fiore MMA and the H.I.T. Squad, Alloway has also trained alongside Brian Ebersole with Tiger Muay Thai.

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Xavier Lucas
Perth
Age 31
Record: 8-3-1
Twitter:@xmanmma
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“The X-Man” might not have superhuman mutant powers, but his fists have been known to put people to sleep. The Mach 1 product is said to have competed in over 200 amateur boxing contests and, in MMA, has disposed of two foes via knockout and two by way of TKO. While most of the fighters in the house have posted wins in their most recent outings, Lucas is on a two-fight skid, having lost by way of TKO to David Hulett (20-10) and via armbar submission to Gareth Ealey (6-3). Earlier in his career, he also suffered a TKO at the hands of Shane Nix (7-3). Meanwhile, he has notched wins over the likes of Sengoku and Pride veteran Yuki Sasaki (23-20-1), Akihiro Yamazaki (13-6-1) and Ian Bone (10-6), and fought to a draw with Taisuke Okuno (11-6-2).

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Manuel Rodriguez
Sydney
Age 27
Record: 9-3
Twitter:@Chalate85
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It might seem odd that a fighter with the last name of Rodriguez is competing on a season of The Ultimate Fighter that is devoted to British and Australian athletes. However, Rodriguez resides in Sydney but originally hails from El Salvador. “Chalate” has won just once in his last three outings, having suffered losses to David Vergers (4-2) and Bellator and Strikeforce veteran Jesse Juarez (18-8). The TP Fight Team product’s significant wins include a pair of decision victories over Rodney MacSwain (13-4) and a triangle choke submission of Corey Nelson (10-4). Rodriguez is a ground specialist, having earned six of his wins by way of submission, and trains under Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Bernardo Magalhaes.

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Robert Whittaker
Sydney
Age 21
Record: 9-2
Twitter:@RJWhittaker1990
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Whittaker trains out of the PMA Super Martial Arts Centre and has scored stoppages in all of his victories while only losing twice—once via submission and once by decision, in a five-round title affair. The decision loss came against Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Jesse Juarez (18-8). The submission was a first-round stunner, as South Korean fighter Hoon Kim (9-9-1) slapped on a triangle choke. Whittaker has shown an almost even ability to finish opponents on the mat (five submission victories) or via striking (four wins by some form of knockout). His most significant victories have come against Shaun Spooner (8-2), Corey Nelson (10-4) and castmate Ben Alloway (12-3).

[divider]Welterweights – Team U.K.

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Luke Newman
London
Age 22
Record: 5-0
Twitter:@LukeNewman_mma
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Newman has never seen the second round through five professional outings. In that time, he’s scored three TKO victories and submitted his two most recent foes via rear-naked choke. Until his most recent win over Lee Caers (7-2), however, Newman had not faced any higher-level competition. The American Top Team and Team Titan fighter, who won his pro debut at age 18, has trained alongside Hector Lombard, Thiago Alves, Yves Edwards, Din Thomas, Gleison Tibau and Brad Pickett. That’s certainly a fine cast of fighters from which to gain experience and advice. They have helped him to round out his game after he transitioned to MMA from the world of boxing.

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Bola Omoyele
London
Age 30
Record: 6-1
Twitter:@BolaOmoyelemma
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The Team Titan and American Top Team presence within the TUF Smashes house is immense, and Omoyele is one more member of the team to secure a bed, a nice hot meal and a chance to train under the tutelage of U.K. team coach Ross Pearson. While Omoyele now calls the 170-pound division home, his earliest pro fights took place at middleweight, which suggests that he might hold a slight size advantage over his rivals on the reality show. Outside of a little boxing during his school years, Omoyele entered into MMA training without a martial arts background. His only loss since launching his professional career in 2010 is a TKO defeat at the hands of Carl Noon (7-2). His most significant win came in his most recent outing, where he scored a first-round TKO of Warren Kee (7-1-1).

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Valentino Petrescu
Essex
Age 30
Record: 12-2
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To those that follow the international circuit of MMA promotions, Petrescu should be a familiar name. “Battista” has only suffered losses at the hands of other top prospects—a first-round knockout courtesy of Jimi Manuwa (11-0) and a second-round rear-naked choke submission loss to Beslan Isaev (20-6). Petrescu has trained under Team Sure Grip MMA founder and highly decorated BJJ and judo black belt Daniel Burzotta. The Ministry of Martial Arts product has used his submission skills to notch three victories, but he definitely prefers to use his fists to end fights (six wins by some form of knockout). Petrescu has fought at light heavyweight and middleweight in the past, so he might also enter the house as one of the larger welterweights. Outside of his losses to Manuwa and Isaev, however, Petrescu has seen a severe lack of high-level competition.

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Bradley Scott
Melksham
Age 23
Record: 8-1
Twitter:@Bradleyscott89
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The Trojan Free Fighters Gym product has been a finisher throughout his career.  He has shown power and an ability to take opponents’ backs and sink in a rear-naked choke.  He’s earned three first-round finishes via that particular form of choke.  He has also disposed of three foes via knockout and an additional two via TKO.  His most significant win came in his last outing, where he scored a third-round TKO of Mok Rahman (9-4).  Scott has tasted defeat just once, when he submitted to strikes against fellow prospect Eugene Fadiora (11-1).

Photo: The TUF Smashes cast, including coaches Ross Pearson and George Sotiropoulos (UFC)