Last Saturday's UFC 121, which was headlined by a UFC heavyweight championship bout between Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez, is trending just north of 1 million pay-per-view buys, industry expert Dave Meltzer reports in the latest edition of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required).
The earliest PPV numbers, which this early in the game is at best a rough estimate, is slightly more than 1 million, putting it in the same range as all the biggest events in company history except UFC 100. It's too early to tell if it beat the numbers for the Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin fight. Carwin was a bigger star, and because of his knockout finishes and bigger size, to the public, had a better chance to win. Velasquez, if numbers are better, would have proven to be a better draw based on the stronger hype specials and being an ethnic draw. The build up to this fight had three of the six biggest hype show numbers in UFC history, during a time period when most company TV numbers have been way down.
Heading into the show, I predicted 1.05 to 1.2 million buys for this show and that looks to be about right. As Meltzer notes, the Primetime specials for this show did great for Spike TV, a clear sign of interest in this fight. But beware, this is an early estimate and they have been proven (as in the case of UFC 117) to be wildly inaccurate. Still, that trending number seems to be an outlier. Lesnar has never done less than 1 million buys for a title fight in his career. I think this number will hold up and be very close to the final number, as all signs (fight night trending, Spike TV ratings) indicate there was tremendous interest in this fight.