Strikeforce 'Melendez vs Masvidal' ratings average 460,000 viewers for Dec. 17 event on Showtime

Gilbert Melendez, who retained his lightweight championship in a five-round war against Jorge Masvidal (not pictured). Photo via Strikeforce.com.

Strikeforce: "Melendez vs. Masvidal" took place this past Sat., Dec. 17, 2011, from the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, California, and featured the new face of the promotion, Gilbert Melendez, defending his lightweight championship against Jorge Masvidal.

And if the ratings are any indication of the what's ahead for the recently resurrected promotion, there may be hope just yet.

That's because the event averaged 460,000 viewers on Showtime and recorded a 1.35 household rating, according to Sherdog.com. That's up considerably from the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix tournament semifinals, which drew just 274,000 viewers back on Sept. 10.

Much has changed since then, of course, including the outlook for the promotion. No longer is it a lame duck organization waiting to be put out of its misery. Sure, these numbers aren't blowing anyone away but it's a good start under the new agreement.

And you gotta start somewhere.

In the main event of the evening, Gilbert Melendez turned in yet another solid performance and retained his 155-pound championship by outworking Jorge Masvidal over the course of five grueling rounds.

He followed that up by calling out the UFC but he'll have to sit tight and take on whoever Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker can find him.

That may be K.J. Noons, who also won a unanimous decision on the card, besting the always game Billy Evangelista. He did just lose a title eliminator to Masvidal, who earned his shot on this card by defeating Noons, but such is the revolving door in a smaller promotion.

Cristiane Santos once again showed the world why she might actually belong fighting men, as it took her just 16 seconds to dispose of Hiroko Yamanaka, a highly ranked 145-pound lethal lady.

Not so lethal against "Cyborg."

For complete "Barnett vs. Kharitonov" results and recap of all the night's action click hhere and here.

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