Last Saturday, the UFC returned to Mexico City, Mexico, with UFC Fight Night 98.
The highlight of the Octagon’s Mexican return was undoubtedly the main event, which saw streaking lightweight contender Tony Ferguson take a decision from former champion Rafael Dos Anjos in an action-packed, five-round battle. Other highlights of the card included a nice win courtesy of The Ultimate Fighter 1 veteran Diego Sanchez, who defied the odds to spoil the UFC debut of Bellator vet Marcin Held, and Ricardo Lamas’ beautiful submission defeat of the over weight Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveira.
Despite the presence of established names like Ferguson, Dos Anjos, Sanchez, Lamas and Oliveira on this card, however, the broadcast’s viewership actually peaked during the first fight of the main card. This fight saw undefeated strawweight prospect and former Invicta Fighting Championship star Alexa Grasso make her Octagon debut against Heather Jo Clark. The prospect would win this fight by restructuring Clark’s nose en route to a unanimous decision win.
This, of course, is exciting news as it’s an indicator of Grasso’s potential as a future star. Despite having never fought in the UFC before, the telegenic prospect was able to attract more eyes than a former champion, a top contender, an old school fan favorite, and two of the featherweight division’s best fighters.
So, onto the numbers (via MMAFighting.com).
During Grasso’s debut, viewership crescendoed at 932,000. Average viewership for the whole event, meanwhile, was 860,000, while viewership for the prelims, which were headlined by a bout between Erik “Goyito” Perez and Felipe Arantes, sat at 668,000.
— UFC (@ufc) November 6, 2016
While the card’s average viewership of 860,000 is slightly below the average for FS1 cards in similar time slots, it is respectable considering the event was competing with a number of pivotal college football games, and with a boxing match between returning legend Manny Pacquiao and WBO champ Jessie Vargas.
With her defeat of Clark, Grasso now sits at 9-0 overall. After kickstarting her pro career with two knockouts in less than 15 seconds, she added two more wins to her record on the regional circuit, before going 4-0 in the Invicta cage.
Do you think Alexa Grasso could be the strawweight division’s next big star? How do you think she’d fair against divisional queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk?