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

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

Combat

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?

 

So here are your five best gold options for the weekend.

 

5. Glory Women’s Super Bantamweight Championship: Anissa Meksen (c) (95-4) vs. Amel Dehby (29-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 3:30pm, ESPNEWS

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 2
Juice: 1: Aside from the French vs. Dutch kickboxing European superpowers matchup, not much here.
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 2: Well, this sucks. Afternoon on ESPNEWS? Ouch. I’m sure Glory would rather much take a tape delay on ESPN2, but I’m one of the probably 47 people in the country who get ESPNEWS, so I’m a happy camper!

Total: 11

 

4. Glory Lightweight Championship: Sitthichai Sitsongpeenong (c) (119-30-5) vs. Tyjani Beztati (16-2)

When/Where: Saturday, 3:30pm, ESPNEWS

Competitiveness: 3: Tyjani is a young up-and-comer, but nowhere near Sitthichai’s level. Probably should have graded this lower, but kickboxing can be incredibly unpredicatable.
Excitement: 3: Sitthichai is your prototype Thai fighter, starting very, very, very slow and learning his opponent, then outpointing him for the win. But he has a killer instinct when need be (see: Yi Long), and if he wants to make it definitive, he will; especially if the young buck pushes him.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 13

 

3. UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship: Amanda Nunes (c) (15-4) vs. Raquel Pennington (9-5)

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

Competitiveness: 3: Nunes is still heads above everyone in the division, and the pickings are slim at bantamweight, but Rocky has won her last four, her last two losses were by split-decision, and her last win retired Miesha Tate, so that’s a good a win as any.
Excitement: 3: Pennington is pretty methodical, let’s see if Nunes can bring out a firefight in her.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 15

 

2. WBO World Junior Middleweight Championship: Sadam Ali (c) (26-1) vs. Jaime Munguia (28-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:00pm, HBO

Competitiveness: 3: I still don’t think Ali is as good as the win over Cotto proved, but Munguia is absolutely unproven with a paper record.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5: Ali made a huge name for himself when he outdueled Miguel Cotto in his farewell bout.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 16

 

1. WBA World Lightweight Championship: Jorge Linares (c) (44-3) vs. Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 8:00pm, ESPN

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 5: Oh my god is this going to be fun, a late-blooming blood-and-guts champion fighting the best of his life against maybe the best pure boxer in the sport today.
Juice: 4: No personal animosity, no tacky media blowups, no garbage press conference fights, just the best wanting to fight the best. Hallelujah.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 23

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