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UFC 209 prelim ratings up 18 percent from UFC 208

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UFC 209 photos

The first numbers in for UFC 209 look solid, as the prelims on FS 1 did 1,033,000 viewers.

The number was up 18 percent from the 874,000 viewers for the prelims before UFC 208.

The figure was even more impressive since the show went head-to-head with the Keith Thurman vs. Danny Garcia welterweight title unification boxing match on CBS that did 3,060,000 viewers, as well as a Duke vs. North Carolina basketball game on ESPN that did 4,061,000.

The peak viewing number was for the Darren Elkins come-from-behind win over Mirsad Bektic, which did 1,183,000 viewers.

The show also did well on the Internet, as the UFC 209 show was the single most-searched item on Google on Saturday, and the second most searched on Friday. The Friday searches were more related to Khabib Nurmagomedov's issues with not weighing in and being pulled off the show.

There are no early pay-per-view numbers available at this point, but it was not expected to do big numbers, and the feeling was it would take a small hit due to the loss of the Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson interim title fight.

The numbers for the prelims as a general rule will correlate to a good or bad pay-per-view number, but it's far from a perfect predictor.

The prefight show did 453,000 viewers, the 13th largest prefight show for any event on FS 1. Part of that was due to getting a strong auto racing lead in that did 1,229,000 viewers. The postfight show did 205,000 viewers, almost identical to the 207,000 viewers for UFC 208.

The weigh-ins did 207,000 viewers, also well above usual, but they were also boosted by a strong auto racing lead-in.

Bellator on Friday night, a show headlined by Julia Budd becoming the company's first featherweight champion, beating MMA women's pioneer Marloes Coenen, did 686,000 viewers, up 23 percent from the 559,000 viewers of the show the week before headlined by Liam McGeary vs. Brett McDermott.