Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Early ratings are in for Saturday night's UFC on FOX 2 event, and the two-hour broadcast drew an estimated 4.37 million viewers, according to a report by TVBytheNumbers.com.
The final number, however, is likely to increase substantially by the time final ratings are released, as information continues to trickle in on the live broadcast.
By comparison, the initial UFC on FOX show last November featuring a heavyweight title bout with Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos drew an overnight rating of 4.64 million, but when final information was released, it ended up averaging a more robust 5.7 million viewers for the one-hour special.
Saturday night's two-hour show, which was broadcast from the United Center in Chicago, featured a tripleheader that was void of any finishes. In the main event, Rashad Evans out-pointed Phil Davis, setting up a light-heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones. The co-main event saw Chael Sonnen earn a decision over Michael Bisping, setting up a rematch with middleweight champ Anderson Silva. And the night's opener saw rising star Chris Weidman top Demian Maia on points.
Despite the lack of big finishes or action-packed rounds, ratings indicated that the event helped FOX carry the all important 18-49 year old demographic, as that segment of the population averaged a 2.2 rating to lead all broadcast networks.
Final ratings should be released on Monday.
The next UFC on FOX event will take place in the spring, with a May 5 date penciled in. To date, only one TV matchup has been confirmed, with lightweight contenders Nate Diaz and Jim Miller squaring off in a bout likely to serve as the co-main event.
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