UFC, Bellator both pull third-lowest prime time numbers of 2018 this past weekend

Both UFC and Bellator this weekend ended up with each company’s third lowest audiences for prime time live shows on their main television stations.

Saturday’s UFC Fight Night from Sao Paulo, headlined by Thiago Santos’ third round win over Eryk Anders, averaged 607,000 viewers.

The number came against stiff competition that included live college football on ABC, FOX, ESPN and ESPN 2, as well as the Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin replay on HBO, which did 726,000 viewers, and NASCAR on NBC Sports Network.

The FS 1 main card broadcast started 41 minutes later than usual for Saturday night shows, at 10:41 p.m. due to FS 1 running college football prior to the UFC. Between the late start and main eventers who don’t have well-known names to the mainstream audience, as well as the depth of competition, a low number should have been expected.

UFC peaked at 701,000 viewers for the Sam Alvey vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira fight which was third from the top..

As far as prime time shows in 2018, it barely beat the Justin Gaethje vs. James Vick headlined Fight Night 135 show at 596,000 viewers, and the Jimmie Rivera vs. Marlon Morales headlined show which aired on a Friday night averaged 517,000 viewers. The current average for UFC shows in prime time this year is 813,000 viewers.

Friday night’s Bellator show, headlined by A.J. McKee’s quick knockout win over John Teixeira, averaged 346,000 viewers on Paramount. It was the second-lowest number of 2018 overall, and third lowest on Paramount. The April 13 show headlined by Michael Chandler’s win over Brandon Girtz averaged 242,000 on Paramount but had another 161,000 on CMT. The prior Bellator show, headlined by Darrion Caldwell’s win over Noad Lahat, averaged 319,000 viewers.

Bellator was in fourth place among national sports broadcasts Friday night, trailing college football on ESPN, La Liga on Univision and NASCAR on NBC Sports Network.

Bellator is currently averaging 445,000 viewers for live broadcasts on Paramount this year.

The prelims, which had Charles Oliveira going for the all-time submission record and Evan Dunham’s retirement fight, did 243,000 viewers on FS 2. It was the lowest number of the four Fight Night prelims on FS 2 this year. FS 2 prelims average 283,000 viewers.

The post-fight show on FS 1 did 218,000 viewers, up from 208,000 for the last Saturday night Fight Night with Gaethje vs. Vick.

The pre-fight show on FS 2 did 97,000 viewers.

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