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UFC 223 prelims do 892,000 viewers

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC had hoped for its strongest numbers of 2018 this past Saturday when Khabib Nurmagomedov was to face either Tony Ferguson or Max Holloway in the main event.

But with the change to Al Iaquinta, the prelims did numbers in the same range as most of the shows so far this year, with 892,000 viewers. The show peaked at 1,057,000 viewers for Karolina Kowalkiewicz’s decision win over Felice Herrig in the prelims main event slot.

Both UFC 220, headlined by Stipe Miocic vs. Francis Ngannou and Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir, and UFC 222, headlined by Cris Cyborg vs. Yana Kunitskaya, did 905,000 viewers for the prelims. UFC 221, the Luke Rockhold vs. Yoel Romero headlined show from Perth, Western Australia, did 697,000 viewers, going against the Olympics.

The show beat the 2017 average for pay-per-view prelims of 834,000. But on the national sports scene, the competition wasn’t nearly as tough as most Saturday nights. UFC’s prelims finished second for the night in the sports category, trailing only ABC’s NBA coverage of Oklahoma City vs. Houston that did 2,673,000 viewers. It also went head-to-head with the WWE’s presentation of NXT on the WWE streaming Network, which doesn’t release viewership numbers.

The earliest preliminary indications on pay-per-view estimates are indicating it as the second largest this year, trailing UFC 220, which is estimated at 350,000 buys, but beating the Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya numbers, which were estimated between 210,000 and 260,000.

The pre-fight show did 373,000 viewers and the post-fight show did 138,000. Both numbers are down from the Cyborg vs. Kunitskaya show which did 431,000 and 177,000 respectively.

The weigh-ins did 47,000 viewers live on FS 2, while a tape broadcast of the weigh-ins on FS 1 at 9 p.m. did 128,000 viewers.