Despite losing an explosive co-main event when top light heavyweight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson was forced out of his bout against Glover Teixeira, last Saturday’s (July 23, 2016) UFC on FOX 20 from the United Center in Chicago, Illinois brought in some big numbers for FOX.
The event, which was headlined by rising bantamweight Valentina Shevchenko‘s upset win over former bantamweight champion Holly Holm, compiled 2.44 million viewers in overnight ratings. Lightweight Edson Barboza also put on a striking clinic over returning former Strikeforce champion in the co-main event, securing one of his highest profile wins.
The network scored a win in the pivotal adults 18-49 demographic with a .9 share according to TV By The Numbers (as explained by MMA Fighting’s Luke Thomas). That spot measures the 8-10 p.m. Eastern time zone, and while the ratings track the same timeframe for the Pacific time zone, UFC on FOX 20 was obviously a live event, meaning it aired at 5 p.m. on the West Coast.
Numbers are expected to increase when the complete ratings are released shortly.
The 2.44 million scored by UFC on FOX 20, while somewhat close to the usual average for major FOX-aired events, are slight increases over recent FOX shows. UFC on FOX 20 showed a noted improvement over the most recent FOX card, which brought in 2.13 million viewers in April following a number of last-minute changes.
On that card, Teixeira knocked out former 205-pound champion Rashad Evans and top lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov returned from nearly two years off to beat late replacement Darrell Horcher after his oft-scheduled fight with Tony Ferguson fell apart yet again.
UFC on FOX 20 carried a decent amount more star power, as Holm is obviously known as the woman who shockingly dethroned MMA superstar Ronda Rousey with a massive headkick last November. But with two straight losses since that bout, it will remain to be seen if Holm can carry events to ratings success anymore – or if she even finds herself so close to the top of cards.