Jones defends light heavyweight title in main event
ATLANTA – Late Friday, the UFC announced its biggest grudge match in years was a sellout. After the event, the early numbers were in.
A drew 15,545 fans to Philips Arena in Atlanta for a live gate of more than $2.2 million. UFC president Dana White announced the figures at the post-fight press conference early Sunday.
UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans featured a light heavyweight title fight between champion Jon Jones and former champion Rashad Evans. The two former friends and training partners went the full five rounds, with Jones defending his title for the third time. Jones took a unanimous decision with scores of 49-46, 49-46 and 50-45.
The pay-per-view event was the promotion’s first trip to Atlanta since UFC 88, which took place in September 2008 and also featured Evans in the main event. That night, he knocked out former champion and future UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell in what was a big upset. With that win, Evans got a title shot against Forrest Griffin, which he won in December 2008.
Saturday’s attendance figures were up from UFC 88, which drew 14,736 to Philips Arena. But the gate was down – though the official numbers could fluctuate later this week. UFC 88 had a gate of $2.6 million and a pay-per-view buyrate of 480,000.
White said the gate was “almost” $2.3 million, which would put the average ticket price for UFC 145 just under $150. The event featured six fights on the pay-per-view card on the heels of UFC 144 in February, which was a seven-fight main card instead of the typical five live fights. The preliminary card Saturday was broadcast on a combination of Facebook and the FX cable network.
UFC 145 featured five upsets, including Eddie Yagin over 6-to-1 favorite Mark Hominick, Marcus Brimage over highly touted newcomer Maximo Blanco and Ben Rothwell over Brendan Schaub.