The dark cloud of losing the heavyweight title fight and having what was originally UFC 196 moved off pay-per-view turned into a silver lining for Fox Sports 1, which had one of its most successful nights of UFC programming on Saturday.
The main card, headlined by Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson's surprising first round TKO of former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks, averaged 1,317,000 viewers between 10 p.m. and 1:01 a.m. That number made it the fifth most-watched Fight Night since the launch of Fox Sports 1. The actual peak rating came early, with the Ovince Saint Preux decision over Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante doing 1,467,000 viewers.
The show was originally a pay-per-view, headlined by Fabricio Werdum defending his heavyweight title against Cain Velasquez. It was moved to a Fight Night when both Werdum and Velasquez pulled off the show due to injuries.
Other numbers were even more impressive against usual standards.
The prelims, airing from 8-10 p.m. and headlined by Joshua Burkman vs. K.J. Noons averaged 1,093,000 viewers, which was the second largest for prelims for a Fight Night show in station history. The only prelims to top it were the Jan. 17 show prelims before the T.J. Dillashaw vs. Dominick Cruz fight, which did 1,767,000 viewers.
The post-fight show did 535,000 viewers, an all-time record for a pure post-fight show that wasn't a post fight show that combined with Fox Sports Live.
The event did strong numbers going against two of the NBA's marquee teams, the Golden State Warriors facing the Oklahoma City Thunder on ESPN, which did 3,230,000 viewers, but it also came on a night without any marquee boxing matches or live sports events on network television.
Not including the Conor McGregor show from 2015 which was a statistical record-setting aberration, the Hendricks vs. Thompson show did 52 percent above the annual average for a prime time FS1 live main card of 864,000 viewers. The prelims were 55-percent above the 2015 FS1 prime time average of 705,000 viewers.