Brad Katona fights Cody Gibson in the TUF 31 finale

The Ultimate Fighter Season 31: Winners Will Be Crowned At UFC 292

This was one of the most anticipated editions of the Ultimate Fighter ever.

Conor McGregor, the UFC’s biggest hotshot, returned to coach against the hard-hitting, supremely confident Michael Chandler.

At the end of the season, McGregor and Chandler are scheduled to fight – check out our preview of that here – though the official date hasn’t been announced.

TUF Season 31 kicked off May 30 and aired at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN every Tuesday. 

In the end, Cody Gibson and Brad Katona prevailed in the bantamweight division, while Kurt Holobaugh and Austin Hubbard won out the lightweight division.

Ultimate Fighter Season 31 Finale Odds

Both of these TUF fights will take place at UFC 292 on August 19.

Austin Hubbard vs Kurt Holobaugh Odds

Hubbard vs Holobaugh Odds
Austin Hubbard-175
Kurt Holobaugh+145

Odds as of August 16

Brad Katona vs Cody Gibson Odds

Katona vs Gibson Odds
Brad KatonaTBD
Cody GibsonTBD

Odds as of August 16

The Ultimate Fighter Season 31: Episode 1 Recap

Episode 1 was relatively void of drama as McGregor and Chandler were amicable with one another for the full hour. 

Our first bout of the quarterfinals ended quickly, with Roosevelt Roberts (Team Chandler) knocking out Nate Jennerman (Team McGregor) for an early first-round win in the lightweight bracket. Roberts looked smooth, but there are some other early favorites.

Episode 2 Recap

Things got off to a strange start when the scheduled fight between Timur Valiev (Chandler) and Trevor Wells (McGregor) was called off after the Nevada Athletic Commission doctor noticed a cold sore on Wells' face. Chandler broke the news to a dejected Valiev, who was devastated at the thought of making weight twice. The plan is to postpone the Valiev-Wells fight and make it a catchweight.

When the actual action began, Cody Gibson (Chandler), a grizzled vet who last fought in the UFC in 2015, starched Mando Gutierrez (McGregor), who some considered a strong favorite to win it all. 

I was blown away at how well Gibson listened to Chandler's instructions from the corner as "The Renegade" staved off the wrestling onslaught and blasted Gutierrez for a flying knee KO. 

I still think guys such as Jason Knight and Hunter Azure should be favored to win TUF, but I'd watch for Gibson; he looked hungry and technically sound in Episode 2.

Episode 3 Recap

It's been a complete disaster for Team McGregor, and I think it's time to shake things up. Conor's been a good hype man, talking lots about flow and mentality (his analogy on grabbing pain and throwing it away was interesting), but it's time for more emphasis on X's and O's.

After Austin Hubbard (Team Chandler) beat up Aaron McKenzie (Team McGregor), it looks like "Mystic Mac" will be calling in Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson for some coaching support on striking fundamentals. 

Episode 4 Recap

After Wonderboy made a guest appearance in Conor's camp to emphasize striking fundamentals, Trevor Wells (Team McGregor) promptly got smashed by Dagestani wrestler Timur Valiev (Team Chandler). 

Valiev pounded away at Wells for a two-round decision win. The 32-year-old was ferocious early but started to gas as the fight went on, which is odd for a Dagestani guy. While Team Chandler improved to 4-0, I'm not so sure Valiev is anything special. We shall see. 

Episode 5 Recap

This episode let me down a little. The Brad Katona (Chandler) vs Carlos Vera (McGregor) was always a mismatch, so I wasn't shocked by Katona's boring two-round decision, but everything else was flat.

If I was on Team McGregor, my faith would be waning. His fighters are now 0-5, and his coaching tactics leave much to be desired. During the fights, Chandler, for example, is in the corner, shouting simple, actionable instructions. Conor, on the other hand, wanders around outside the cage praising "beautiful combos." 

Although the blue team's 0-5 record is ultimately due to talent, I can't help but question if McGregor could be doing more as a coach.

Episode 6 Recap

Surprise, surprise, Team McGregor lost again, but this time I'm putting no blame on Mystic Mac himself. 

McGregor's No. 1 lightweight, fellow Irishman Lee Hammond, dominated his opponent Kurt Holobaugh for the first eight minutes of the fight. Then, during a grappling transition, Hammond left his neck exposed and Holobaugh sunk in a guillotine choke.

McGregor, now 0-6, took his frustrations out on Chandler, shoving him during a brief post-fight scuffle. Perhaps that'll get things going.

Episode 7 Recap

Are we surprised at this point? Team McGregor fell to 0-7 after Jason Knight starched Landon Quinones via first-round triangle choke. McGregor, now completely dejected, asked UFC president Dana White what will happen if his team loses all eight quarterfinal matches.

A full eight-fight sweep has never happened in TUF history. That would be won't awful black mark for Team McGregor. 

Odds-wise, Knight looks like a serious favorite to win this season. He has eight UFC fights under his belt and looks more mentally prepared than any other fight I've seen this season. So far, I like Knight, Cody Gibson (though he now has an MCL sprain) and Roosevelt Roberts as my top three favorites.

Episode 8 Recap

Finally, Team McGregor caught a break, and what an upset it was. Rico DiSciullo pulled off a big win with a second-round knockout over Hunter Azure.

I had Azure pegged as a potential winner of this tournament. But DiSciullo looked fantastic. He got outplayed on the ground but found a way back and let it eat in the second round. I'd watch for him to strike his way through the semis. Stay tuned.

Episode 9 Recap

This was a brutal episode. With a berth into the finals riding on this fight, Austin Hubbard and Roosevelt Roberts (both from Team Chandler) pawed at each other for 15 minutes. Dana White was very unhappy with the lack of aggression, and even McGregor chimed in, reminding the fighters "it's not a spar, lads."

Hubbard won by split decision, but this was hands-down the least entertaining fight of the whole season. It's too bad, too, as I pegged Roberts as a threat to win it all. Nope. Hubbard moves on, but I wouldn't consider him a threat to win the tournament. 

Episode 10 Recap

Finally! With a bantamweight finals berth on the line, Brad Katona and Timur Valiev went all-in. Katona, who defected to Team McGregor, found a ton of early momentum on the feet but cut his head open early.

After that, there were waterfalls of blood in the cage. Katona continued to lead the dance, even as the fight carried into a deciding third round. Ultimately, Katona secured the split-decision victory and a berth in the finals.

If the Canadian can pull it off, he'll become the first two-time winner in Ultimate Fighter history.

Episode 11 Recap

This was one of my favorite episodes. The show began with McGregor and Chandler partaking in a trivia game. The pair sat in cold tubs and answered questions about UFC history. Neither guy had an especially vivid recollection of the promotion's history, but McGregor ultimately won the competition — not a surprise since Chandler's only been with UFC since 2021.

Then we had the fight: Jason Knight vs Kurt Holobaugh. These Bayou boys went to war, trading hooks and combos as momentum swung back and forth. Holobaugh (I'd call him the underdog) started so strong, knocking Knight down early and cornering him in the Octagon for the entire first round.

When Holobaugh unloaded and folded Knight with a punch to the body, everyone was speechless. It was easily the best fight of this TUF season. Holobaugh looked "masterful," as Chandler put it, and the 36-year-old is definitely a threat to beat Austin Hubbard and win the lightweight bracket.

Episode 12 Recap

After some shenanigans with Chandler and McGregor at a crawfish boil (?), we witnessed the final fight of the season. And it was a quick one. Rico DiSciullo, the lone victor from Team McGregor, came out slugging, but he slipped. The Bostonian was toast after that. Gibson took him down and locked in a body triangle. As hard as Rico wriggled, he couldn't get out, and Gibson won by first-round submission.  

List Of Contestants

This season, we’ve got a pool of lightweight and bantamweight contestants. 


  • Hunter Azure
  • Rico DiSciullo
  • Cody Gibson
  • Mando Gutierrez
  • Brad Katona
  • Timur Valiev
  • Carlos Vera
  • Trevor Wells


  • Lee Hammond
  • Kurt Holobaugh
  • Austin Hubbard
  • Nate Jennerman
  • Jason Knight
  • Aaron McKenzie
  • Landon Quinones
  • Roosevelt Roberts

How To Watch The Ultimate Fighter Season 31

  • Date/Time: Tuesdays (Starting May 30), 10 p.m. ET
  • Where to Watch: ESPN, TSN (In Canada), ESPN+

How The Ultimate Fighter Works

Once the season begins, the coaches get a chance to evaluate fighters and then select their teams. The contestants end up on either Team McGregor or Team Chandler, and each squad then competes against the other with matchups based on weight class. 

Winners of each bout advance through a bracket system (prelims, quarterfinals, semis, etc.) and the final fight happens live during a UFC event, where the Ultimate Fighter is crowned and ultimately awarded a UFC contract.

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