Friday, May 20, 2022

UFC 274 Secures Top Spot For 2022 PPVs, Surpasses 400,000 Buys

Despite rivaling a major boxing match on DAZN, UFC 274 reportedly recorded the most pay-per-view buys of the year to date on ESPN+.

Last Saturday, the MMA leader took over Phoenix, Arizona with a card topped by two exciting-looking championship contests, as well as a blockbuster lightweight bout and a host of entertaining preliminary bouts.

While both title fights had some element of disappointment involved, Charles Oliveira’s missed weight and ineligibility to keep the title in the main event, and the rematch between Rose Namajunas and Carla Esparza being widely branded as dull, the event appears to have been the promotion’s most successful of 2022.

According to Sports Business Journal reporter Adam Stern, the May 7 event recorded over 400,000 buys on ESPN+, marking it as the UFC‘s leading card of the year. That’s despite rivaling DAZN’s Canelo Álvarez vs. Dmitry Bivol fight.

With UFC 274 representing the first instance of leaked PPV numbers this year, we now have a ceiling in place for 2022’s first four major events.

UFC 274 Bests A Unification Clash & An Intense Grudge Match

In taking top spot, Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje, who drew most of the attention ahead of the event as the headliners, UFC 274 certainly didn’t outdo poor slates.

Opening the year in Anaheim, MMA’s premier promotion put on two title bouts at UFC 270, including a heavyweight unification showdown between champion Francis Ngannou and then-interim titleholder Ciryl Gane. In the co-main slot, Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno battled for the flyweight belt for the third time in just over a year.

February’s event saw a rematch between middleweight king Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker take center stage in Houston, while entertaining behemoths Tai Tuivasa and Derrick Lewis delivered a powerful appetizer in the co-featured bout.

It’s perhaps most surprising that last weekend’s event was able to outdo the numbers drawn by UFC 272 in March. In the main event, former friends Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington collided, looking to settle a history of bad blood and animosity. The matchup’s apparent failure to surpass 400,000 buys perhaps suggests the trash-talking build-up wasn’t to everyone’s taste.

Last month’s UFC 273 event, meanwhile, saw Alexander Volkanovski defend his title for the third time against “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung in Jacksonville. Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling also collided in a rematch, settling their feud and unifying the bantamweight titles.

Despite four solid-looking events on paper, it was the latest fight in Oliveira’s incredible resurgence that has leapfrogged them all. With the title now vacant after his weight miss, perhaps the extra stakes of his vacant championship fight later this year will draw even more eyeballs.

The first event that’ll look to surpass the tally Oliveira vs. Gaethje achieved will be UFC 275, set for June 11 in Singapore. At the top of the card, Glover Teixeira will defend his light heavyweight title against Jiří Procházka, while Valentina Shevchenko will be targeting an extension of her flyweight dominance against Taila Santos in the co-main.

Are you surprised that UFC 274 recorded the year’s highest number of PPV buys?

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