Saturday night's The Ultimate Fighter 24 Finale show, headlined by a championship match featuring UFC flyweight titleholder Demetrious Johnson, drew 1,032,000 viewers, the UFC’s best number on FOX Sports 1 in more than two months.
The double headliner of Johnson vs. Tim Elliott for the flyweight title and a top contenders battle of Joseph Benavidez vs. Henry Cejudo did the sixth-best number of the 16 prime time shows this year. It was the best since the Sept. 24 show headlined by Cris Cyborg vs. Lina Lansberg that did 1,109,000 viewers. The number was up 17 percent from the similar show last December, which had both Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes and Tony Ferguson vs. Edson Barboza, and did 883,000 viewers.
Ratings for TUF 24 Finale peaked with the Johnson vs. Elliott main event, which did 1,170,000 viewers.
With no strong college football games on cable, FS1 bested ESPN head-to-head on Saturday night and was the most-watched live cable sports event on Saturday.
The prelims, headlined by Gray Maynard vs. Ryan Hall, did 887,000 viewers.
The pre-fight show did 479,000 viewers, the second-best number in FS1 history for a show prior to a non-pay-per-view card and the largest of the year. The post-fight show did 280,000 viewers.
While most sports have declined in ratings this past year, the UFC main cards on FS1 are up seven percent and the prelims are up 20 percent from 2015.
Bellator 167, headlined by Darrion Caldwell's win over Joe Taimanglo, did 545,000 viewers on Saturday night head-to-head with the UFC show. That number can't be considered bad when two weeks earlier, when Bellator and UFC last went head-to-head, the Bellator show averaged 597,000 viewers with a much stronger Michael Chandler vs. Benson Henderson lightweight title fight as the main event.
Bellator's show on Friday night, Bellator 166, which featured Eduardo Dantas' bantamweight title defense over Joe Warren, did 613,000 viewers.
The final regular episode of the TUF season, on Wednesday night, where Elliott earned his title shot against Johnson, did 386,000 viewers that night and another 242,000 watching via DVR through Saturday night.