UFC 234 Prelims Average 1.339 Million Viewers on ESPN

By: Tristen Critchfield
Feb 12, 2019

Saturday’s UFC 234 preliminary card drew an average of 1.339 million viewers to ESPN, according to ShowBuzz Daily.

That’s the highest figure for a UFC pay-per-view preliminary card since the UFC 207 prelims averaged 1.5 million viewers for the lead-in to the Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey event. The UFC 234 prelims were likely boosted due to following the men’s basketball broadcast of Duke vs. Virginia on ESPN, which averaged 3.3 million viewers. The card drew an overall market share of 0.82.

The four-bout UFC 234 prelims weren’t high on star power. In the featured bout, Devonte Smith stopped Dong Hyun Ma via technical knockout 3:53 into the opening round of their lightweight bout. The card’s early prelims streamed on ESPN+.

Despite the promising ratings for the preliminary card, UFC 234 isn’t expected to draw a large number of pay-per-view buys. The middleweight championship headliner between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum was canceled on the day of the event when Whittaker withdrew from the bout to undergo emergency hernia surgery. As a result, the 185-pound clash between Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva was elevated to the main event.

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