Strikeforce execs will be celebrating today after discovering that last weekend’s ‘Diaz Vs Cyborg’ event turned out to be a TV ratings winner on Showtime.

An average of 561,000 viewers tuned in to the show which features a slew of entertaining main card fights. Even more impressive was the peak rating of 853,000 during the headline title fight between Nick Diaz and Evangelista ‘Cyborg’ Santos.

Those ratings make the event the second most popular event in Strikeforce’s history on Showtime, falling narrowly behind the much hyped 2009 encounter between Gina Carano and Cris ‘Cyborg’ Santos which drew an average of 576,000 and peaked at 576,000 viewers.

It’s not clear exactly what caused the ratings boost on this occasion. Former NFL superstar Herschel Walker’s inclusion on the fight card will certainly have helped, while the often controversial Nick Diaz also appears to be a fighter growing in popularity as his dominant run at 170lbs continues as the peak rating will testify.

Meanwhile the fact that there were two title fights on the bill, and the momentum that would have been gained from their last show in December which turned out to be one of the events of the year, can only have helped. It should also be noted that the promotion’s biggest rivals, the UFC didn’t counter-program the event with a replay of one of their own shows as has often been the case in the past.

Whatever the reason it’s the perfect start to 2011 for Strikeforce, and they will now be hoping to build on this success in just under two weeks time when Fedor Emelianenko returns for the start of their much talked about heavyweight grand-prix.