Bellator Fighting Championships recorded a new Season 7 ratings high last Friday night, as Bellator 79 averaged 220,000 viewers on MTV2.

Headlined by a heavyweight tournament semifinal between Richard Hale and Thiago Santos, Bellator 79 took place Nov. 2 at Casino Rama in Rama, Ontario. The evening’s broadcast also saw hard-hitting competitors Shahbulat Shamhalaev and Mike Richman collide in a co-headlining featherweight semifinal.

Sherdog.com confirmed Bellator’s viewership figure with an industry source on Tuesday. Bellator’s previous season high was set during its Sept. 28 season premiere, which netted 190,000 viewers. This week’s draw of 220,000 viewers marks a 43 percent increase from the 154,000 observers who tuned in for Bellator 78 the week prior.

Hale pounded out Santos in Friday’s main event after overcoming some early adversity, as the Brazilian wasted no time testing Hale’s chin. “Big Monster” then took the fight to the floor, where he looked to punish Hale with ground-and-pound. The American escaped to his feet, however, clipping Santos with a series of short punches that caused his heavier foe to drop to the canvas and turtle until the bout was stopped.

Shamhalaev also used a first-round technical knockout to punch his ticket to the Season 7 finals, as the featherweight dropped Richman with a perfectly-timed right hand that relieved “The Marine” of his senses in just 1:45.

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