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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?


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


t1. One FC Women’s Atomweight Championship: Angela Lee (c) (6-0) vs. Jenny Huang (5-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 8:30am, OneFC.com

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 5: Lee is one of my favorite fighters to watch. What’s not to love? She’s a 20-year old undefeated submission whiz throwing on twisters and neck cranks.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 2
Viewing Ease: 3: If you’re up at that hour and willing to throw down ten bucks, OneFC is usually worth your time.

Total: 15


t1. King Of Pancrase Flyweight Championship: Ryuichi Miki (c) (19-10-4) vs. Mamoru Yamaguchi (30-10-5)

When/Where: Sunday 1:00am, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 2: Yamaguchi used to be a fun fighter, but his last five fights are split-decisions, and Miki’s last five fights are decisions.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3: King Of Pancrase doesn’t hold the same weight it once did in the Gracie/Shamrock/Rutten days, but Pancrase still holds cache, and being on top there is still a big deal.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 15



3. King Of Pancrase Featherweight Championship: Issei Tamura (c) (10-7) vs. Nazareno Malegarie (27-4)

When/Where: Sunday 1:00am, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 3: Malegarie got only one UFC fight after a Bellator career and he lost by split-decision, Tamura went 1-2 with his only win over Tiequan Zhang, who may have been the worst fighter on the roster.
Excitement: 2: Malegarie is a decision-master lately, and Tamura has been one for his career.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 13



t4. WBA World Junior Middleweight Championship: Jack Culcay (c) (22-1) vs. Demetrius Andrade (23-0)

When/Where: Saturday, Untelevised

Competitiveness: 3: Andrade is a former world champ and is a heavy favorite against Culcay.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4: Unfortunately, because WBA, this isn’t their real “Super” world title. Fight me, WBA.
Viewing Ease: 1

Total: 12



t4. Vacant NABF Female Middleweight Championship: Claressa Shields (1-0) vs. Szilvia Szabados (15-8)

When/Where: Friday, 10:00pm, Showtime

Competitiveness: 3: Szabados is a huge step up from Shields’s debut opponent, actually challenging for a world title previously, but it’s still Claressa Shields, greatest American Olympic female boxer, ever.
Excitement: 2
Juice: 1
Prestige: 2: The title is secondary, but Shields holding it will bring it to prominence.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 12