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UFC on FOX draws 2.82 million viewers for best overnight numbers in two years

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The Anthony "Rumble" Johnson win over Alexander Gustafsson Saturday night paced UFC on FOX to drawing 2.82 million viewers on the preliminary overnight ratings. It was the best overnight number for a UFC on FOX event since January 26, 2013.

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC had a solid showing Saturday night on FOX, as based on the overnight ratings, the show headlined by Anthony "Rumble" Johnson's win over Alexander Gustafsson did 2.82 million viewers and a 1.1 rating in the key 18-49 demo based on figures from TVbythenumbers.com.

Based on the overnights, which is a preliminary rating that for FOX shows is always lower than the final number, it was the company's largest audience in two years. The last show to beat the figure was on the same weekend, the January 26, 2013, show headlined by Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson for the flyweight title with Anthony Pettis vs. Donald Cerrone in a lightweight title eliminator, which did 3.3 million viewers on the overnights.

The audience was up 24 percent in viewers from the December 13 show headlined by Junior Dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic, which did 2.27 million viewers in the overnights and an 0.9 in the 18-49 demo. It's also up from the 2.55 million for last year's January show headlined by Benson Henderson vs. Josh Thomson.

The final rating, which is expected to come out on Tuesday, is going to be higher. The overnight ratings measure the Eastern time zone from 8-10 p.m., Central time zone from 7-9 p.m., Mountain time zone from 6-8 p.m. but measures the Pacific time zone from 8-10 p.m., at which time the FOX affiliates were airing filler programming that would be expected to drag down the average, and wouldn't figure in the West Coast viewers watching live.

However, the gain will be significantly less than most FOX shows, because the main event ended before 10 p.m. Usually most of the main event doesn't figure into the overnights because it goes past the measured time slot, and the main event is almost always the highest rated part of a FOX show.

UFC on FOX 14 won the night handily in 18-49, with ABC doing an 0.6 in the demo head-to-head, while CBS and NBC both did 0.5 ratings in the demo. With the West Coast figured into the final ratings, FOX should double the other networks.

However, it had the lowest number of viewers, because UFC viewership is so concentrated in males 18-49, and Saturday night television viewership is strongest with those over the age of 55. CBS did 4.39 million viewers with repeats of CSI and Stalker, while NBC did 3.32 million viewers with the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Figure Skating, and ABC did 2.86 million with the movie "Mirror, Mirror."