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UFC on FOX 26: Rafael dos Anjos vs. Robbie Lawler peaks at 3,071,000 viewers

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The final same-day ratings for Saturday's UFC on FOX 26 broadcast, where Rafael dos Anjos won a unanimous decision over Robbie Lawler, was 2,107,000 viewers.

While it was the fourth-lowest number for a UFC on FOX broadcast to date, it will also end up being the second most-watched MMA event on television this year, and largest since January.

The numbers rose significantly from the fast nationals due to a combination of the entire main event being factored into the average and the addition of the West Coast viewers that aren't figured into the first numbers. It ended up as the most-watched show on network TV for Men 18-34 and 18-49, Overall 18-49 and Overall 18-34, and in what is considered the key demos, beat everything else on television aside from the NFL on the NFL Network.

The NFL game on the NFL network that went head-to-head with the main card did 6,993,000 viewers, and the belief is Star Wars opening weekend led to lower than usual television viewing Saturday night..

The peak of the show was the last three rounds of the main event, which averaged 3,071,000 viewers.

The four FOX shows this year all did similar numbers. The January show headlined by Valentina Shevchenko vs. Julianna Pena did 2,189,000 viewers, which seemed low at the time but ended up as the most-watched MMA event on television all year. The April show headlined by Demetrious Johnson vs Wilson Reis for the flyweight title did 1,996,000 viewers. The July show headlined by Chris Weidman vs. Kelvin Gastelum did 2,146,000 viewers. Prior to this year, only one UFC on FOX main card had done less than 2.2 million viewers.

Saturday's numbers were a 34 percent drop from the December show in 2016, headlined by Michelle Waterson vs. Paige VanZant, and featuring Urijah Faber's retirement fight against Brad Pickett, that averaged 3,178,000 viewers, but that figure was unusually high.

The show also did an average minute number of 15,521 viewers streaming on FOX Now and Fox Sports Go.

The prelims on FS 1, headlined by Jan Blachowicz beating Jared Cannonier, did 456,000 viewers from 5-8 p.m. on FS 1. It also averaged 5,658 viewers streaming.

The pre-fight show on FS 1 did 121,000 viewers and the post-fight show did 115,000 viewers.

Bellator on Friday night with a taped show from Newcastle, England, featuring the promotion's debut of Michael McDonald, who beat Peter Lieger via decision, did 511,000 viewers, which has to be considered positive since that beat seven of the previous eight shows. The only show since October that beat it was the Nov. 10 show from Dublin, Ireland, where the news of Conor McGregor running into the cage swelled curiosity numbers to an average of 575,000 same-day viewers.

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