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Ronda Rousey powers FOX Sports 1 to two new records

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The Ronda Rousey effect was strong for UFC programming on FS 1 all weekend, with various shows pulling some of their best numbers in the history of the station.

The prelims prior to UFC 190 did 1,322,000 viewers, making them the third most-watched pay-per-view prelims in history, behind the prelims of UFC 168 and UFC 183. Both of those numbers were helped by having legitimate drawing cards anchor the prelims, Chris Leben at 168 and Miesha Tate at 183, as opposed to Demian Maia and Neil Magny on Saturday.

The show peaked at 1,599,000 viewers for the Patrick Cummins win over Rafael Feijao.

The prelims for UFC 184, Rousey's last pay-per-view headliner, did 1,205,000 viewers, while the prelims three weeks earlier for the Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes show did 847,000 viewers.

The prelims beat the Danny Garcia vs.. Paulie Malignaggi fight on ESPN, that did 1,073,000 viewers.

Rousey also led to a strong showing in pre-and-post shows. The prefight show at 7 p.m. did 518,000 viewers, ranking No. 3 in the history of FS 1 pref-ight shows. The post-fight show, even with a 1:42 a.m. start time on FS 1, did 438,000 viewers, the second most in FS 1 history.

Two other records were set on Friday. A replay of the second Rousey vs. Miesha Tate fight from UFC 168, that aired at 9 p.m. did 388,000 viewers, making it the most-watched episode ever of UFC Main Event. That followed at 10 p.m. with a UFC Tonight episode focusing on Rousey that did 396,000 viewers, the most-watched episode in the history of that show.

All indicators are that the pay-per-view numbers exceeded even the most optimistic expectations. It was thought that with the show being from Brazil, it would be difficult to top the UFC 184 estimated figure of slightly more than 600,000 buys. While it is too soon to get accurate estimates on the pay-per-view numbers, all trending figures that are usual good indicators are not only far ahead of that show, but also ahead of UFC 189, headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes, which had far more promotional muscle behind it.

World Series of Fighting's show head-to-head with the UFC pay-per-view, built around Rousimar Palhares vs. Jake Shields for their welterweight title, did 244,000 viewers. Given the competition, and the later than usual start time (the show aired from 10:40 p.m. to 1:15 a.m. on NBC Sports Network), the number has to be considered a success, as it was above the usual 200,000 or so viewers they usually do in a better time slot without anywhere near as strong competition.