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The Sports Daily > Undercard Superstar
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 Heavyweight Championship: Stipe Miocic (c) (16-2) vs. Junior dos Santos (18-4)

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

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 5: These two put on a barnburner once already, and they’re seldom in a boring fight.
Juice: 3: There’s no personal animosity, because Miocic and JDS are the nicest dudes ever, but the story is easy, here. JDS handed Miocic his last, and second-ever, loss, before he was champion, and with a lack of worthy challengers, JDS makes sense here.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 22

 

 

2. UFC Female Strawweight Championship: Joanna Jedrzejczyk (c) (13-0) vs. Jessica Andrade (16-5)

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

Competitiveness: 3: Penne, Calderwood, and Hill is a damned solid strawweight win card, but no one is near Joanna’s level right now. Karolina Kowalkiewicz put on the best performance to date against JJ, and still got 49-46 x3 routed.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 2
Prestige: 5: Joanna has done absolutely fantastic things for that belt.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 17

 

 

t3. WBA World Junior Bantamweight Championship: Khalid Yafai (c) (21-0) vs. Suguru Muranaka (25-2-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 4:00pm, SKY Sports

Competitiveness: 2: Muranaka is a fine regional fighter, but he’s never fought outside of Japan, hell, he’s never fought outside of Tokyo, shit, he’s never fought outside OF KORAKUEN HALL.
Excitement: 2
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5: One of only two world title boxing bouts on the weekend.
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 12

 

 

t3. WBC International Featherweight Championship: Josh Warrington (c) (24-0) vs. Kiko Martinez (36-7-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 3:00pm, BT Sport

Competitiveness: 4: Warrington’s on the cusp of breaking into world title contention at featherweight, and this is absolutely fantastic matchmaking. Kiko is a former world junior featherweight champion and a great measuring stick for a fighter like Warrington. This is the kind of prospect vs. gatekeeper fight I like.
Excitement: 3: Martinez is an old warrior who can still drag a scrap out of most boxers.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 2
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 12

 

 

t3. CES MMA Featherweight Championship: Matt Bessette (c) (21-7) vs. Rey Trujillo (21-18)

When/Where: Friday, 9:00pm, AXS

Competitiveness: 2: Unfortunately, Trujillo is a late-replacement for Jeremy Spoon, which would have been a much, much, better fight.
Excitement: 4: Trujillo has sixteen wins by stoppage and twelve losses for by stoppage. Win or lose, the man earns his paycheck.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 2
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 12