UFC 234’s prelims aired on ESPN this past Saturday night and drew and average of 1,339,000 viewers.
That’s the most watched prelims for the promotion since UFC 207: Rousey Vs Nunes back in December of 2016, which drew 1.5 million viewers on FOX Sports 1.
By comparison, UFC 234 was far less anticipated than that event and had suffered a late blow when the main event middleweight title fight between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum had to be scrapped on extremely short notice.
UFC 207 also had a much stronger line-up for it’s preliminary offering, including the likes of Johnny Hendricks Vs Neil Magny, while UFC 234’s prelims had no real star power and was fronted by a fight between Devonte Smith and Dong Hyun Ma.
With that in mind the prelim numbers for the show were good, though they perhaps flatter to deceive somewhat as the lead in for the four-fight selection on ESPN was a college baskbetball game between Duke and Virgina that drew 3,318,000 viewers.
That was the most watched sporting event of the weekend, but the UFC card struggled to retain those viewers, with the opening fight between Teruto Ishihara and Kyung Ho Kang being watched by an average of 2.3 million viewers, and then a gradual slide downwards from that point on.
There’s no word on the pay-per-view numbers as yet, but with a cancelled main event and weak line-up aside from the Israel Adesanya Vs Anderson Silva headliner, current expectations are for a very low number of buys.