Interest in Ronda Rousey’s return to the Octagon at UFC 207 drove strong viewership to FS1 on Friday, Dec. 30.
Following Amanda Nunes’ shocking 48-second defeat of Rousey on Pay-Per-View, the FS1 UFC 207 POSTFIGHT SHOW tallied 404,000 viewers, a +166% jump over the comparable Jan. 2, 2016 postfight show (for UFC 195) and good for the fourth most-watched postfight show in FS1 history. Among A18-49, it was up +157% over the Jan. 2, 2016 postfight show (234,000 vs. 91,000).
The FS1 UFC 207 PRELIMS scored 1,511,000 viewers on Friday, making it the eighth most-watched PRELIMS ever on the network. It was up +46% over the 1,032,000 viewers for the comparable FS1 UFC 195 PRELIMS on Jan. 2, 2016. Among A18-49, the prelims were up +42% (813,000 vs. 572,000). The FS1 UFC 207 PRELIMS peaked with 1,848,000 viewers between 9:45 – 10:00 PM ET.
Intrigue heading into the evening’s fights was strong on the network as well. The FS1 UFC 207 PREFIGHT SHOW logged 572,000 viewers, making it the fifth most-watched PREFIGHT show in FS1 history. The FS1 UFC 207 WEIGH-IN SHOW garnered 216,000 viewers, up +23% against the 176,000 viewers for the lone UFC weigh-in last January that aired on a Friday.
UFC 207: Nunes Vs. Rousey
“Nunes is a beast,” says FOX UFC analyst Daniel Cormier. “Rousey is a winner.”
LOS ANGELES – UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping (@Bisping), former champion Miesha Tate (@MieshaTate) and former title contender Kenny Florian (@KennyFlorian) serve as FS1 desk analysts alongside host Jon Anik (@Jon Anik) for FOX Sports’ coverage of UFC 207: NUNES VS. ROUSEY on Thursday, Dec. 29 and Friday, Dec. 30.
UFC superstar Ronda Rousey (12-1) makes her anticipated return to the Octagon on Friday, Dec. 30, when she attempts to regain the UFC bantamweight title from champion Amanda Nunes (13-4) in the main event of UFC 207: NUNES VS. ROUSEY. The longest reigning UFC champion in women’s MMA history, Rousey held the 135-pound crown for three years from 2012 until 2015, when she lost to Holly Holm in her first ever loss. Nunes defeated Tate at UFC 200 to earn the world championship and is looking to cement her legacy as one of the greats of the sport.
FOX UFC analyst Bisping says the template for beating Rousey has been established: “Amanda needs to follow the game plan that Holly Holm had against Rousey. She needs to avoid the clinch at all costs. But Ronda owns the clinch, takes people down and submits them in a heartbeat. She can win this fight, but the mental pressure is what Ronda has to deal with. I’m sure with her Olympic experience, she’ll do a great job.”
Light heavyweight champion and FOX UFC analyst Daniel Cormier wonders if Nunes can take control of the fight: “Nunes can dominate and finish anyone. There was no point in the Miesha Tate fight where Miesha was in that fight. Nunes is a beast. But how does Amanda handle the scrambles? Remember: Rousey is a winner. She’s done it her entire life. Ronda has the style to give Nunes a lot of problems.”
Fellow UFC 207 fighter and FOX UFC analyst Dominick Cruz believes Rousey has taken the time to refocus and recharge: “Ronda has a different mentality and I truly believe we’re going to see a sharper version of her because she’s dropped all the other obligations. She has the style to go in there against Nunes and do great if she can take her down. Nunes doesn’t necessarily have the style with her plodding Muay Thai to stop the takedowns.”
Another bantamweight title is on the line at UFC 207 when Cruz (22-1) defends his title against unbeaten knockout artist Cody Garbrandt (10-0) in the co-main event. Bisping sees another interesting stylistic matchup between the two: “Garbrandt can truly get the job down with one punch. Dominick has got to be careful. But the problem is, you can’t hit something that isn’t there. That’s what Dominick does so well – his movement and his speed are probably the best in the game. Cody is going to have to corral him up against the fence and limit that movement. But he doesn’t want to turn this into a dancing contest. And he also doesn’t want to turn this into a wrestling match, because Dominick will win 100 percent.”
Cormier also sees a contrast of styles between the two fighters, but is quick to point out Cruz is among the UFC’s elite. “This fight, for me, is the best fighter, pound-for-pound, Dominick Cruz, defending his championship against a guy who has knockout power in his hands. Garbrandt is exciting because he’s so dangerous. But Cruz is one of the best in the UFC.”
Watch a full-length UFC 207 preview from Cormier and Cruz from last weekend’s FS1 UFC FIGHT NIGHT POSTFIGHT SHOW here.
Coverage of UFC 207 kicks off with UFC TONIGHT on FS2 and live streaming on FOX Sports GO on Wednesday, Dec. 28 (10:00 PM ET), when Tate joins hosts Florian and Cormier in studio to preview the title fights on the card. Bisping adds reports from Vegas.
The action moves to Las Vegas on Thursday, Dec. 29 (6:00 PM ET) with the FS1 UFC 207 WEIGH-IN SHOW hosted by Anik with analysts Bisping, Tate and Florian. Megan Olivi (@MeganOlivi) interviews fighters backstage.
Friday’s coverage starts with the FS1 UFC 207 PREFIGHT SHOW (7:00 PM ET), with the same crew previewing the fights and Olivi adding reports. The two-hour UFC 207 PRELIMS on FS1, FOX Deportes and live streaming on FOX Sports GO begin at 8:00 PM ET and feature four thrilling bouts, including No. 6-ranked welterweight Johnny Hendricks (17-5) facing No. 8 Neil Magny (18-6). The ninth-ranked welterweight Dong Hyun Kim (21-3-1, 1NC) takes on No. 12 Tarec Saffiedine (16-5), while Antonio Carlos Junior (7-2, 1NC) and Marvin Vettori (11-2) square off in a middleweight scrap. Mike Pyle (27-12-1) and Alex Garcia (13-3) open the FS1 UFC 207 PRELIMS with a welterweight battle.
Joe Rogan (@JoeRogan) and Mike Goldberg (@MFG16) call the fights on FS1 live from Las Vegas, while Victor Davila (@mastervic10), Erik “Goyito” Perez (@Goyito_Perez) and Mario Delgado (@mariodelgadorzm) call the action in Spanish on FOX Deportes.
The action wraps up immediately following the main event with the FS1 UFC 207 POSTFIGHT SHOW, with Anik, Bisping, Tate and Florian recapping the fights in Las Vegas, and Olivi interviewing fighters.
FOXSports.com features UFC 207 preview articles leading up to the fight, and senior UFC writer Damon Martin interviews Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt about their title bout on FOX Sports’ popular podcast Fight Society. The podcast is available on iTunes and Soundcloud. @TheBuzzer’s Andy Nesbitt (@anezbitt) is in Vegas providing all-access coverage in the lead-up to UFC 207, as well as post-fight interviews backstage on the night of the fight. Follow @UFConFOX on Facebook and Twitter to get a look at fight week and throughout the #UFC207 fights Friday.