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UFC 229 prelims draw best ratings in nearly two years

The first real numbers are in for UFC 229.

The show's prelims, which aired on FS1 prior to Saturday's main card, averaged 1.308 million viewers. The FS1 prelims had no big names and were headlined by what was basically a number one contender's bout in the non-drawing flyweight division.

This was the biggest audience for a pay-per-view prelims show since December 2016, which was the last time Ronda Rousey fought. Rousey's PPVs always had gigantic numbers for the prelims. 

The audience was almost exactly the same as the 1.3 million that tuned in for the UFC 202 prelims on August 20, 2016. That show was headlined by Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II and held the previous PPV buys record of 1.65 million. According to Dana White, this past Saturday's McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov event will shatter that record. White is claiming the show did "way over" two million buys, though he noted that they didn't reach three million.

This was the 10th highest total for a prelims show in the history of UFC on FS1. The events that beat it were headlined by either Rousey or McGregor, with the exceptions being UFC 200 (which was marketed as the biggest show in UFC history) and UFC 183 (which had Miesha Tate fighting in the featured prelim when she was at the height of her popularity). 

Here's a look at all PPV prelims shows in the FS1 era that hit 1.3 million viewers, along with the main event of the card and the eventual PPV buys number: