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UFC 155 prelims are best number on FX since July

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC 155 prelim fights on Dec. 29, headlined by a bantamweight clash between Eddie Wineland and Brad Pickett, scored solid ratings on Saturday night with 1.4 million viewers on FX.

That number beat live main cards on both Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 on the network that had far more publicity. Of the 14 prelim shows that appeared on FX this year, before UFC pay-per-view events and prior to the last FOX show, it was the fourth-highest. It was the best for any UFC-related show on the network since the July 7th prelims for the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen fight on what turned out to be UFC's biggest show of 2012.

The show also featured bantamweight Erik Perez, who the promotion is strongly pushing to the Latino market, scoring a quick win over Byron Bloodworth, Melvin Guillard vs. Jamie Varner and Myles Jury vs. Michael Johnson.

That number would appear to be a good sign for the more important number which are pay-per-view buys. Those figures are not yet available, but the three shows that beat the number this year were prelims for UFC 148 (Silva vs. Sonnen, which did 925,000 buys), UFC 145 (Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans, which did 700,000 buys and was UFC's second most successful event of the year) and UFC 144 (Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson I), which was the show from Saitama, Japan that finished back in the normal pack.

The main card was headlined by Cain Velasquez's UFC heavyweight championship win over Junior Dos Santos, and would figure to be a well above average performer on pay-per-view.