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UFC 182 prelims do second-best ratings of FOX Sports 1 era

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

While there isn't always a correlation between the ratings for the prelims, and the eventual pay-per-view numbers of a show, of late the number has been a good indicator.

That would seen like a good sign for UFC 182, as the prelims on Saturday night did 1,039,000 viewers, the second-best total of the FOX Sports 1 era.  That number is doubly impressive since the show was going head-to-head with the NFL playoffs. The number trailed only UFC 168, which did 1,554,000 viewers, preceding the most successful UFC pay-per-view event since the end of the Brock Lesnar era.

The prelims audience peak on Saturday was 1,346,000 viewers for the Paul Felder vs. Danny Castillo fight that served as the television main event.

Dana White had predicted 750,000 buys for the pay-per-view that followed, headlined by the Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier light heavyweight title fight. Early cable estimates indicate a number at that level or slightly higher. That would be the most buys for a show headlined by light heavyweights since the 2010 fight with Rampage Jackson vs. Rashad Evans.

A further indication of interest is that the post-fight show at 1 a.m. on FS 1 did 459,000 viewers, destroying the previous record of 313,000 for the UFC 168 post-fight show.

UFC 168 was held on Dec. 28, 2013, and had two highly anticipated championship fights, Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva for the middleweight title and Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate for the women's bantamweight title.