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High Ratings For UFC On ESPN Debut

UFC Phoenix Debuts on ESPN as Highest Rated on Cable since January 2016

Last night, UFC Fight Night on ESPN debuted as heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou (13-3) knocked out former two-time heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (14-3) in his highly anticipated return to the Octagon in the main event at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Ariz.

The ESPN telecast of the main card from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. ET averaged a 1.1 metered market rating, while the UFC Fight Night on ESPN Prelims on ESPN from 7 – 9 p.m. averaged a 0.7 rating.  The full five-hour window on ESPN averaged a 0.9 rating. Through three linear television events, ESPN has now aired the three highest-rated UFC telecasts on cable since the start of 2017.   

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Main Things to Know:

  • * Last night’s UFC Fight Night on ESPN featuring Francis Ngannou vs. Cain Velaszquez aired from 9 p.m. – 12 a.m. and averaged a 1.1 metered market rating.
  • * The Prelims from 7-9 p.m. averaged a 0.7 rating and the full five-hour window on ESPN averaged a 0.9 rating.
  • * Based on overnight ratings, last night’s main card (9 p.m. – 12 a.m.) ranks as the highest-rated UFC Fight Night on cable since the Dillashaw-Cruz headlined event on January 17, 2016.  Last night’s Prelims (7-9 p.m.) rank as the second highest-rated UFC Fight Night Prelims on cable since that same 1/17/16 date, behind only ESPN’s premiere telecast on January 19 of this year. 
  • * Through three linear events, ESPN has now aired the three highest-rated UFC telecasts on cable since the start of 2017.
  • * Last night’s telecast was up 83% from the comparable Fight Night (Cerrone/Medeiros) that aired on February 18, 2018 (0.6 rating). The Fight Night Prelims were up 40% and the five-hour window was up 50%.

The Octagon now travels to the O2 Arena in Prague for UFC Fight Night on ESPN+ in the first-ever UFC event in the Czech Republic. In the main event, top light heavyweights Jan Blachowicz and Thiago “Marreta” Santos battle it out while heavyweights Stefan Struve and Marcos Rogerio de Lima face off in the co-main event. The main card will be live and available exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. in both English and Spanish starting at 2:00 p.m. Prelims will be live and available on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes beginning at 11 a.m. ET.

MORE UFC Phoenix: Phoenix Scorecard | Dana White Recap | Ngannou Backstage