Last night’s UFC Primetime: Lesnar Vs Velasquez episode 1 drew 974,000 viewers on Spike TV.

It had been hoped that the UFC’s biggest star and current heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar’s presence on the show would have produced record ratings, but in fact it falls a little over 200,000 viewers short of the season opener for Primetime: Rampage Vs Evans earlier in the year.

Of course that light-heavyweight fight already had considerable hype behind it given the bad blood and trash-talking between the two on the 10th season of TUF.

Lesnar Vs Velasquez lacks that dynamic with Cain Velasquez being soft spoken and seemingly uninterested in playing mind games with his opponents, while Lesnar’s potentially life-threatening battle with Diverticulitis last year also appears to have mellowed him out somewhat.

In an ideal world Frank Mir would have been the perfect foil for Lesnar on the Primetime show given the intense rivalry they’ve shown in their previous two encounters.  While that would make good TV there’s no doubt that inside the octagon Velasquez has the skills to give Lesnar is toughest challenge yet, and episode one did a good job of highlighting that fact as well as focusing on his Mexican heritage.

As can be seen below Lesnar and Velasquez’s opener tracks closer to Primetime: GSP Vs Hardy which drew 1 million viewers for it’s debut episode.

UFC Primetime Season Premiere Ratings:

  • UFC Primetime: BJ Penn Vs GSP Episode 1: 880,000 Viewers
  • UFC Primetime: GSP Vs Hardy Episode 1: 1,000,000 Viewers
  • UFC Primetime: Rampage Vs Evans Episode 1: 1,200,000 Viewers
  • UFC Primetime: Lesnar Vs Velasquez Episode 1: 974,000 Viewers

Traditionally Primetime’s ratings drop in the following weeks so it will be interesting to see if Lesnar’s presence can buck that trend.

Meanwhile Wednesday night’s fourth episode of The Ultimate Fighter season 12 drew an average of 1.6 million viewers on the station.

That falls in line with the season premiere, but is down 200,000 from last week’s episode.

  • TUF 12 Episode 1: 1,600,000 Viewers
  • TUF 12 Episode 2: 1,700,000 Viewers
  • TUF 12 Episode 3: 1,800,000 Viewers
  • TUF 12 Episode 4: 1,600,000 Viewers

Props: MMAJunkie