On paper Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand-Prix looked like being a winner with fans, both casual and hardcore alike, and the viewing figures for Saturday night’s Fedor Vs Silva event prove it beyond any doubt.

A record-breaking 741,000 viewers on average tuned into the event on Showtime which featured the first quarter-final bouts as Fedor Emelianenko took on Antonio Silva and Andrei Arlovski squared off with Sergei Kharitonov.

The show also peaked with a stellar 1.1 million viewers during the main event which saw Fedor losing for only the second time in 10 years against ‘Big Foot’ Silva.

Both of those figures smash the promotion’s previous record for Strikeforce: Carano Vs Cyborg which averaged 576,000 viewers and peaked at 853,000 in August, 2009.

The news will delight both Strikeforce and Showtime officials who had high hopes for the tournament.

The next question though is whether they can continue to build on, or at least maintain this early ratings success as the Grand-Prix continues now that popular stars Fedor and Arlovski have been eliminated.

We’ll find out for sure in April when the second pair of quarter-finals takes place with Alistair Overeem Vs Fabricio Werdum and Josh Barnett Vs Brett Rogers.

If they can produce similar results for that event then it’ll show that the tournament format is still a major draw for fight fans, and may even give the UFC food for thought.

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