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UFC 217 prelims ratings best yet for 2017

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MMA: UFC 217-Anderson vs Saint Preux Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back, Georges St-Pierre.

While the newly-crowned middleweight champion wasn’t a part of the UFC 217 preliminary card, his place atop the pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast opposite Michael Bisping created strong buzz for the New York City event, which took place inside Madison Square Garden back on Nov. 11.

The result was 1,276,000 viewers, tops for 2017, and the biggest number since the UFC 207 “Prelims” — under the return of Ronda Rousey — last December. Not too shabby when you consider the slew of football games running against the FOX Sports 1 telecast.

MMA Fighting reports:

The portion of the show that aired on FS 1 finished second in its time slot on cable in both the 18-34 and 18-49 male demo, behind the Texas vs. Texas Christian football game on ESPN. The prelims went head-to-head with major college football games on CBS, ABC, FOX, ESPN and ESPN 2, as well as NASCAR on NBC Sports Network. It also went partially against HBO boxing, although the Deontay Wilder vs. Bermain Stiverne heavyweight title fight itself from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, started after the prelims were over and during the pay-per-view portion of the show.

The opening bout between Randy Brown and Mickey Gall aired on FOX Sports 2 as a result of the late finish in the Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State football game, but still managed to scare up 251,000 viewers.

UFC needed it after this awful stretch.

The next major PPV event will be UFC 218 from Detroit, though recent injuries may have sabotaged the promotion’s ability to draw a big crowd for the “Prelims,” unless something big happens between now and then.

Time will tell.