Saturday night’s UFC 144 live preliminary fights on FX produced the best ratings so far for the promotion on the network, pulling in an average of 1.5 million viewers.

That’s a marked improvement from the previous two prelim specials on FX for UFC 142 (880,000 viewers) and UFC 143 (1.3 million viewers), while also beating out the first dedicated ‘UFC On FX 1’ live broadcast in January which also drew an audience of 1.3 million.

The steady increase in viewers since the UFC’s new television deal began on January 1st suggests that fans are slowly beginning but surely beginning to migrate over from the organization’s previous television home on Spike TV.

In fact, based on past figures for prelim specials on the aforementioned Spike TV, the 1.5 million watermark reached at the weekend means it’s the joint 7th most watched one since they first began back in September of 2009.

This Friday night we’ll get another chance to see just how much the UFC’s audience is growing on the network when ‘UFC On FX 2’ airs with Thiago Alves Vs Martin Kampmann headlining the show.

A week later the new ‘Ultimate Fighter: Live’ show will begin airing weekly on Friday nights on FX and so the hope is that this will help introduce more casual fans to the sport and lead to further increases in the number of viewers for their live events over time.