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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.

 

1. WBC/WBO World Cruiserweight Championships: Mairis Briedis (c) (23-0) vs. Oleksandr Usyk (c) (13-0)

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 4
Juice: 3
Prestige: 5: Title unifications make my nipples hard.
Viewing Ease: 2: No U.S. TV deal for the WBSS is seven levels of garbage. Maybe WBSS will provide a stream, maybe you’ll have to find one on your own.

Total: 19

 

 

t2. WBA World Lightweight Championship: Jorge Linares (c) (43-3) vs. Mercito Gesta (31-1-2)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:30pm, HBO

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 3: Linares is an interesting case. He was a live-by-the-sword, die-by-the-sword guy until he became a world champ finally. Since then, he’s been all decisions. Not boring fights, mind you, but he’s not the gunslinger he was.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5: WBA “Super” championship luckily isn’t at play here. This is a legit and undisputed world championship.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 15

 

 

t2. Vacant WBA World Welterweight Championship: Lucas Matthysse (38-4) vs. Tewa Kiram (38-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:30pm, HBO

Competitiveness: 2: This sucks. Kiram’s record is absurdly inflated and he’s never fought outside of Thailand.
Excitement: 5: It’s Matthysse against a potentially soft target. Time to bring down the thunder.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 15

 

 

t2. Vacant LFA Middleweight Championship: Anthony Hernandez (5-0) vs. Brendan Allen (8-2)

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

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 3: These guys know their way around a tapout. 13 combined wins, nine by submission.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3: The last two LFA middleweight champs got scooped up by the UFC on the real quick, so these guys know the stakes.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 15

 

 

5. Krush 70kg Championship: Jordan Pikeur (c) (41-7-1) vs. Yutaro Yamauchi (28-17-5)

When/Where: Saturday, Untelevised

Competitiveness: 2: Pikeur is a HIGH-level kickboxer, Yamauchi is…a Japanese challenger…
Excitement: 4
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 1: Untelevised. Can we get Krush some kind of streaming deal for the love of pete? Excuse my language.

Total: 11