The ratings are in for Saturday night’s UFC 235 prelims and show that the four-fight broadcast delivered an average of 1,480,000 viewers on ESPN.
That’s a strong number, up over 100,000 from UFC 234’s prelims, which produced an average of 1,339,000 a few weeks ago.
That makes UFC 235’s prelims the best for a PPV lead-in since UFC 207: Nunes Vs Rousey back in 2016, which registered 1,511,000 viewers on FOX Sports 1.
UFC 234’s prelims benefited from having a strong lead-in from a Duke’s vs. Virgina college basketball game that drew 3,318,000 viewers, which makes UFC 235’s number more impressive as it’s lead-in was a North Carolina vs. Clemeson basketball game that only pulled in 1,692,000 viewers.
The main reason UFC 235’s preliminary offering performed better then appears to be the far stronger line-up, with rising star Zabit Magomedsharipov fighting Jeremy Stephens, Johnny Walker vs. Misha Cirkunov and Diego Sanchez vs. Mickey Gall, while UFC 234’s failed to deliver any real star power, being fronted by Devonte Smith vs. Dong Hyun Ma.
It’s also worth noting that the peak for the prelims came during Sanchez’s fight, despite being third on the line-up, drawing 1,650,000 viewers.
UFC 235’s main card was also much stronger too, with the promise of two title fights featuring Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith and Tyron Woodley vs. Kamaru Usman, plus the debut of Ben Askren against Robbie Lawler making this one of the stronger cards we’re likely to see this year.