Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is starting to find its audience on ESPN, crossing the one million mark for its UFC 248 “Prelims” last Sat. night (March 7, 2020) with a four-fight preliminary card topped by Sean O’Malley vs. Jose Quinonez.
1,195,000 fans watched “Sugar” win by first-round technical knockout (see it).
That number was good enough to put the UFC 248 “Prelims” as the third best of 2020, according to Dave Meltzer at MMA Fighting, behind UFC 247: “Jones vs. Reyes” (1,491,000 viewers) and UFC 246: “McGregor vs. Cerrone” (1,767,000 viewers).
Not too shabby.
No question the strong viewership was helped by the Duke vs. North Carolina basketball game, which gave the network 2,232,000 viewers to pool from. The UFC 248 “Prelims” finished No. 2 for the night on cable in 18-49 and first in 18-34.
Hopefully some of those early viewers stuck around to see the pay-per-view (PPV) portion of the card, which featured the best fight of the year in Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the strawweight title (highlights here).
For complete UFC 248 results and fight coverage click here.