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College football leads to UFC Argentina prelims ratings beating main card numbers

Due to the lead-in of the Michigan vs. Indiana game, the UFC Argentina prelims on Saturday averaged 707,000 viewers, while the main card fell to 632,000.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Buenos Aires-Ponzinibbio vs Magny
Santiago Ponzinibbio defeated Neil Magny at UFC Argentina.
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

A major college football game with Michigan vs. Indiana led to an unusual situation on Saturday where the prelims for UFC Argentina drew more viewers than the main card.

The UFC Argentina preliminary card, headlined by Michel Prazeres’ first-round submission win over Bartosz Fabinski, drew 707,000 viewers, the best number for prelims on FOX Sports 1 since the first FS1 show of 2018.

The main card from Buenos Aries, Argentina, headlined by Santiago Ponzinibbio’s fourth-round knockout of Neil Magny in a battle of ranked welterweights, averaged just 632,000 viewers. The ratings numbers mainly declined throughout the show, which means the audience was still being boosted by the big number from the football game that ended more than two hours earlier.

The most-watched match on the main show was the opener, Cynthia Calvillo’s first-round submission win over Poliana Botelho, which did 715,000 viewers.

The 632,000 viewers was well down from the 840,000 viewers that the Yair Rodriguez vs. Korean Zombie show dew the previous Saturday, but aside from that card, UFC Argentina beat every other UFC event on FS1 since the Junior Dos Santos vs. Blagoi Ivanov-headlined show on July 14.

The main card also averaged 11,804 viewers streaming.

The Michigan vs. Indiana game did 2,273,000 viewers and was the lead-in for UFC, the second-most watched college game of the season on FS1. The game ended at 7:55 p.m. and the Fight Night coverage started at 8 p.m. The five-minute pre-fight show on FS1 did 1,168,000 viewers, off the charts numbers for that sort of a show.

Both the prelims and the beginning of the main card went against college football on ABC, FOX, ESPN, and ESPN 2, with ABC’s Cincinnati vs. UCF game leading the night with 3,098,000 viewers.

On Friday night, Bellator ran a show on a one-day tape delay from Tel Aviv, Israel, headlined by Patricio “Pitbull” Freire retaining his featherweight title in a five-round decision win over Emmanuel Sanchez, which did 381,000 viewers.

The number was, as expected, down from the company’s two previous shows on Paramount, which were the semifinals of the heavyweight tournament with Ryan Bader over Matt Mitrione and Fedor Emelianenko over Chael Sonnen..

It was the fourth-lowest number of Bellator’s 17 shows on Paramount in 2018.

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