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UFC does two of FOX Sports 2's highest-rated shows in history

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Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Even with a later start time than usual, Saturday night's UFC event headlined by the Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson win over Rory MacDonald did normal range numbers Fight Night numbers with 964,000 viewers.

The number is slightly above what similar shows last June did, and slightly below the 1,034,000 that regular prime time Fight Nights (not including the Dominick Cruz vs. T.J. Dillashaw event which skewed the numbers) are averaging in 2016.

Normally, the Fight Night main cards air from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., but with delays in the finish of an auto race that preceded the show, the FS 1 show aired from 10:53 p.m. to 1:35 a.m. It was the second highest-rated sports event in the time slot trailing the Mexico vs. Chile Copa America soccer game that drew 2,722,000 viewers between Univision Deportes and FX.

Because of the late time slot, the viewership peak, during the midnight to 12:15 a.m. quarter, of 1,133,000 viewers came for the wild Steve Bosse vs. Sean O'Connell fight.

The prelims were actually the big success story.  With a prelim headliner of Leandro Silva vs. Jason Saggo, FS 2 in the 8-10 p.m. time slot did 312,000 viewers, the fifth most-watched show in the history of the station. Because the race went long, the Joanne Calderwood vs. Valerie Letourneau fight scheduled for FS 1 aired on FS 2 in its entirely (about five minutes of the fight aired on both FS 1 and FS 2), and did 369,000 viewers, making it the third most-watched show in station history.

On Friday night, with three MMA shows airing simultaneously, the audience was split and numbers were lower than usual.

Bellator ran a show headlined by Eduardo Dantas winning the welterweight title from Marcos Galvao via five-round decision without name stars underneath and did 482,000 viewers. Bellator usually averaged about 650,000 viewers for its Friday night non-tentpole events, and this was the lowest number of the year.

World Series of Fighting on NBC Sports head-to-head did 126,000 viewers, featuring Blagoi Ivanov retaining his heavyweight title over Josh Copeland.  World Series of Fighting events usually do about 200,000 viewers.

AXS also aired a Resurrection Fighting Alliance show that night. AXS doesn't subscribe to Neilsen ratings so no numbers are available for its shows.