(Wessel lands an uppercut to Antoni Hardonk’s midsection. Courtesy of Zuffa by way of Baltimoresun.com.)
You already recognize some of names and faces from the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” but there’s a lot you probably still don’t know about this group of 16 heavyweight warriors. Each weekday between now and the Sept. 16 premiere of “The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights,” FIGHT! will introduce two cast members leading up to the introduction of our TUF bloggers.
Weight: 255 lbs
Hometown: Celina, Ohio
Trains: Little Rock, Ark. at West Side Kickboxing
MMA record: 6-1
Raised in Celina, Ohio, Mike Wessel’s athletic career began at Celina High School, where he was a standout defensive tackle on the football team. After graduating, Wessel enrolled in the University of St Francis in Indiana, where he played nose tackle while obtaining a dual degree in special education and chemistry.
Wessel’s success on the football field led to a stint in the Arena Football League before he accepted a job as the strength and conditioning coach for the University of Arkansas’ football team. While working there, Wessel decided to take up mixed martial arts and proved to be a quick study. He reeled off six straight victories in local and regional shows before getting the call from the Ultimate Fighting Championship to fight Antonio Hardonk at UFC 92 this past December. Wessel took the fight on two weeks’ and notice and got TKO’d in the 2nd round. Wessel currently trains in Little Rock, Ark. with “The Ultimate Fighter” alumnus Roli Delgado at West Side Kickboxing.