Last night’s ‘UFC On FOX Sports 1’ event aka ‘UFC Fight Night 26’ pulled an average of 1.71 million viewers for the live main card on the new network.

In addition the primetime broadcast scored a 1.33 household ratings and impressively managed to secure higher ratings amongst younger demographics such as 18-34 and 18-49 year-old males and 18-49 year-old adults than the four major broadcasting networks: FOX, NBC, ABC and CBS.

“We must congratulate the UFC for putting together a terrific event for the launch of FOX Sports 1 that fans were obviously very excited to watch,” Bill Wanger, Executive Vice President, Programming and Research, FOX Sports said in a press release.

“The prelims and main events were action-packed, and the production quality and new camera angles gave fans a totally new perspective – hats off to the UFC and its incredibly loyal fan base for making our first night such a complete success.”

Make no mistake, this is a home-run for the UFC. I myself had thought anything over 1 million viewers would have been a success, but they’ve exceeded my expectations.

By way of comparison, the UFC’s live events on FX drew an average of around 1.3 million viewers.

Given that FX is a far more established network outdoing that is impressive for FOX Sports 1, though you have to factor in that this was their launch night so this doesn’t mean that these ratings are going to become then new standard.

The UFC also delivered a strong card on the night, but best of all the fights delivered on the night with many entertaining bouts and exciting finishes so if there sports fans tuning in that don’t normally watch MMA then there’s a good chance they went away impressed with what they saw.

It’ll be interesting to see what kind of ratings the UFC can pull once the dust settles though.

We won’t have long to wait to find out as both UFC Fight Night 27: Condit Vs Kampmann 2 and UFC Fight Night 28: Teixeira Vs Bader are scheduled to air live on FOX Sports over the next few weeks.

They will both air on Wednesday nights – the UFC’s new flaship evening on the channel – though, so that’ll have an impact on the ratings the shows will be able to deliver.

Overall, a very encouraging start for both the UFC and FOX Sports 1.