Gladiator groupies can brace themselves for more gore in the arena.

Starz has given its series Spartacus a go-ahead for a third season, the pay cable network announced on Monday.

The green light comes months ahead of the January 27, 2012, premiere of Spartacus: Vengeance, the second season of the Spartacus saga.

The as-yet-untitled third season is expected to begin production in New Zealand in early 2012. Spartacus: Gods of the Arena, which aired in January 2011, drew an estimated 6.2 million total viewers per episode when all linear channels and on-demand viewing are factored in.

Spartacus: Vengeance stars Australian actor Liam McIntyre in the title role, replacing deceased star Andy Whitfield. Executive producer Rob Tapert promises that it will offer many surprises for fans.