The Ecstasy of Gold: 5 Best Title Fights of the Weekend

The Ecstasy of Gold: 5 Best Title Fights of the Weekend

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The Ecstasy of Gold: 5 Best Title Fights of the Weekend

 

The championship fight. The pinnacle of achievement across combat sports for centuries. A premiere attraction that draws millions every year. But not all title bouts are created equally.

So which title bouts every week are the ones to watch? We’ll look over every title fight from across the combat sports landscape and give you the five best based on five criteria:

 

  • Competitiveness: Is this an even matchup? Or just a warm body to throw at a champion? It’s a title fight, so we want the best possible at that division in that promotion.
  • Excitement: How exciting will this fight be? A clash of two elite talents throwing everything they have at each other in an attempt to win the gold? Or a half-dead plod-fest devoid of action or risk?
  • Juice: A sort of catch-all term for all the factors behind the matchup. Is there a story leading up to the match? A true rivalry? Anticipated rematch? Do the fighters dislike each other? Were the circumstances leading to the fight extraordinary, or was it just a promoter putting two names against each other? Is there a lot of excitement or hype going into it?
  • Prestige: Applies to the belt itself, but also to the fighter wearing it. Is this a long-tenured champion defending? Is this an interim title or one that was vacated? Has the champion increased the prestige of the title or is this a fight that will increase the prestige of it?
  • Viewing Ease: We all don’t mind suffering for our art (or hobbies), but sometimes paying twenty dollars for a choppy stream, or searching your cable plan for a channel you’re pretty sure was just invented three days ago in the 6000s isn’t the best of times. How easy, affordable, and stress-free is this bout to watch?

 

 

1. UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship: Cristiane Justino (c) (18-1) vs. Holly Holm (11-3)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:00pm, Pay-Per-View

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 5: Lotta highlight reel violence from these two over the years.
Juice: 2
Prestige: 3: BOY, did this title get off to a rocky start. First, Germaine de Randamie refuses to defend against Cyborg, so Invicta’s bantamweight champ, Tonya Evinger, has to come up ten pounds to fight the most terrifying female fighter in history. Now, it looks like the ship might be righted. Gonna take a little while to build up.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 18

 

2. IBF/WBA World Junior Flyweight Championships: Milan Melindo (c) (37-2) vs. Ryoichi Taguchi (c) (26-2-2)

When/Where: Sunday, Untelevised

Competitiveness: 5: Two legit world champions, no paper champs in here.
Excitement: 2
Juice: 3: Few things get me hot in the britches more than a title unification bout.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 1

Total: 16

 

3. WBO World Flyweight Championship: Sho Kimura (c) (15-1-2) vs. Toshiyuki Igarashi (23-2-3)

When/Where: Sunday, Untelevised

Competitiveness: 4: Kimura pulled a nice upset in dethroning Zou Shiming in the eleventh round of a fight he was losing, so this is probably a stopgap until Shiming can get his rematch.
Excitement: 4: Surprising amount of pop between the two, and Kimura’s gas tank is impressive.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 1

Total: 15

 

t4. WBC World Junior Flyweight Championship: Ken Shiro (c) (11-0) vs. Gilberto Pedroza (18-3-2)

When/Where: Saturday, Untelevised

Competitiveness: 4: Shiro is probably the actual best junior flyweight in the world, and Pedroza, while a fine fighter, isn’t on that level, and he’s coming off of a very thin split-decision win over a 23-6-1 Saul Juarez.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 1: The fact that we can’t get our hands on any stream of these loaded Japanese cards this weekend is a goddamned shame.

Total: 14

 

t4. WBO World Junior Bantamweight Championship: Naoya Inoue (c) (14-0) vs. Yoan Boyeaux (41-4)

When/Where: Saturday, Untelevised

Competitiveness: 2: Nope. Inoue is one of the best P4P fighters in the world, and Boyeaux is coming off five straight six-rounders, including one against a 3-17-2 fighter.
Excitement: 5: This is gonna be a great time. Inoue’s finished his last four opponents, and Boyeaux has 26 knockouts, and would have more if he weren’t in so many six-rounders.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 1

Total: 14

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