“The Ultimate Fighter 17″ showcased another strong episode on Tuesday night. Early indications from TVbythenumbers.com have the show pulling in another 1.27 million viewers. That remains significantly higher than the numbers the show drew last season, which bottomed out at 624,000 viewers.
These solid numbers are sure be a continuing trend for the show. There was plenty of turmoil between Jon Jones and his team over the fight picks, which created an excellent story line. That kind of drama is key in maintaining interest from casual fans.
The featured fight between Luke Barnatt and Gilbert Smith also ended in a spectacular finish. Barnatt picked apart Smith on the feet for the majority of the fight. Smith had his moments and scored a few takedowns, but soon got careless lunging for a takedown and was knocked unconscious by a flying knee from Barnatt.
Before the show ended, Chael Sonnen selected Adam Cella to fight Uriah Hall on next week’s episode. Hall is regarded by many as the strongest fighter in this season’s cast.
The previews for next week’s episode showed Dana White discussing what he called, “the most vicious knockout I have ever seen in combat sports.” The next scene in the preview showed a fighter being loaded in the back of an ambulance, to confirm the validity of White’s teaser.
Next week’s episode should deliver more excellent ratings for the FX network. Hardcore MMA fans are sure to be looking forward to seeing the next fight’s violent finish, and casual fans will be drawn back by the ongoing drama within Team Jones.