TUF 11 changes format; begins with 28 fighters for March 31 debut

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Spike TV has announced that The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Season 11 is mixing things up for its March 31 debut by featuring a new, 28-man roster of hungry middleweights vying for a "six-figure contract" under the tutelage of former TUF Coaches and bitter rivals Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.

The head count is a departure from the traditional 16-man and 32-man formats from previous seasons and may be an indication of new things to come.

The middleweight cast should also provide a refreshing change from the cardio-challenged heavyweights that "fought" on Season 10, while the new format may help add some life to the Liddell-Ortiz feud, which has already run its course on two separate occasions a few years back.

In addition, both fighters are coming off back-to-back losses and are a far cry from where they were in their respective careers during their initial run as TUF Coaches.

"The Iceman" was steering the ship opposite Randy Couture in Season 1 of the Spike TV reality show. Liddell went on to defeat "The Natural" at UFC 52 during his storied run as UFC light heavyweight champion.

Ortiz on the other hand took over the reigns for Season 3 against Ken Shamrock. "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" defeated Shammy at UFC 61 to claim his fourth straight victory inside the Octagon.

Liddell and Ortiz have met twice under the Zuffa banner, with the icy one claiming a TKO stoppage in both encounters. While most of the heat that surrounded their feud has long since dissipated, expect a new rivalry to emerge after squaring off in Season 11 of TUF.

The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 11 Finale will air at 10 p.m. ET immediately following Spike TV's broadcast of UFC Fight Night 21 on June 21.

For more on TUF 11 click here.

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