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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?

 

 

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

 

t1. UFC Flyweight Championship: Demetrious Johnson (c) (26-2-1) vs. Ray Borg (11-2)

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

Competitiveness: 2: Any flyweight in the world is only getting up to a 3 against Mighty Mouse.
Excitement: 5
Juice: 3: Almost none between DJ and Borg themselves, but almost all of it between that bizarre Dana White meltdown, where he brutally disrespected both DJ and Borg in the same breath. http://mmajunkie.com/2017/06/demetrious-johnson-ray-borg-dana-white-tj-dillashaw-dont-complain
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 19

 

 

t1. Interim UFC Lightweight Championship: Kevin Lee (16-2) vs. Tony Ferguson (22-3)

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

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 5: Tony Ferguson is incapable of a boring fight and he can definitely drag something awesome out of Lee.
Juice: 2
Prestige: 3: Interim titles blow, and this especially sucks because the UFC is letting Conor McGregor dictate terms.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 19

 

 

t3. Bellator Bantamweight Championship: Eduardo Dantas (c) (20-4) vs. Darrion Caldwell (10-1)

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

Competitiveness: 3: Still not sure what to make out of Caldwell. It’s clear Bellator loves him and has been pushing him hard, but if he comes out unbelievably sluggish like he did the first time against Joe Taimanglo, he’s going to get rolled.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4: This is probably the most prestigious belt in the company based on longevity, activity, and quality of fighters.  The three-man weave of Dantas, Marcos Galvao, and Joe Warren have kept the 135lb-belt strong.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 15

 

 

t3. Bellator Kickboxing Welterweight Championship: Karim Ghajji (c) (97-13-1) vs. Raymond Daniels (11-3)

When/Where: Friday, 11:15pm, Spike

Competitiveness: 3: Whenever Daniels moves up and faces genuine championship-level kickboxers, he drowns. Ghajji wouild be his best win, by far.
Excitement: 5: Daniels is either good for throwing some of the unique offense in combat sports, or going down in flames, both very appealing options.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 2
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 15

 

 

5. IBO World Super Middleweight Championship: Chris Eubank Jr. (c) (25-1) vs. Avni Yildirim (16-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 1:45pm, Audience/WorldBoxingSuperSeries.com

Competitiveness: 2
Excitement: 2
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4: The belt doesn’t mean much, as its a secondary title, but the fact that it’s a part of the World Boxing Super Series, which thus far has been a rousing success, makes it a 4.
Viewing Ease: 3: Playing this one down the middle, because I’m not sure, since Audience is only available in very small numbers on TV, if WBSS will black it out in America. If it’s just Audience, it gets a 2, if it’s streamed live on WBSS, it’s a 4, due to their streaming issues, so we’re splitting it down the middle.

Total: 12