This past weekend wasn’t the biggest for fight fans — at least, by 2015 standards.
But they certainly had a few choices — with MMA events from Bellator and UFC, plus as a little boxing.
Bellator featured a heavyweight main event on Friday night, with a longtime contender in Cheick Kongo (pictured above) facing the promotion’s former heavyweight champion in Alexander Volkov. The show’s undercard included former featherweight champion Pat Curran, as well as middleweight kickboxer Joe Schilling — who, surprisingly, ended up on the wrong side of the year’s most spectacular knockouts.
Saturday night’s UFC Fight Night Machida vs. Romero featured a bout between two of the world’s top middleweights: Lyoto Machida (who once held the UFC light heavyweight title) and Yoel Romero. The rest of the show lacked star power — but had another contender for “Knockout of the Year” in Thiago Santos’ head kick KO of Steve Bosse.
Also on Saturday night, Tim Bradley returned to action for an event from HBO Boxing. The welter fought Jessie Vargas in his home state of California.
So, who came out ahead, per numbers from Nielsen/Sports TV?
Bradley’s victory over Vargas seemed the most obvious success, enjoying the most average viewers with 1.2 million. As Andrew L. John of The Desert Sun points out, that’s a 16 percent increase over viewership from Bradley’s last bout — a draw against Diego Chaves in Las Vegas which registered roughly 966,000 viewers.
The UFC drew an average of 909,000 viewers on Fox Sports 1. As MMA PayOut describes, that’s better than the UFC’s Fight Night average (excluding the massive numbers from Fight Night McGregor vs. Siver).
But Bellator MMA did well, averaging 764,000 viewers for its broadcast. Sport TV notes that the final quarter hour reached a peak of 988,000 viewers.
So it’s not a clean KO, but perhaps a sign that no one seems too dominant isn’t a bad sign either.