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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.


1. WBA/IBF/WBO World Light Heavyweight Championship: Sergey Kovalev (c) (30-0-1) vs. Andre Ward (30-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 9:00pm, Pay-Per-View

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 4
Juice: 4: The juice is simply in its truest nature, the art of competition. The winner has a legit claim to be the best boxer in the world. That’s juice in the most pure, traditional sense.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3: This costs more than UFC 205, for comparison’s sakes.

Total: 21


2. Bellator Lightweight Championship: Michael Chandler (c) (15-3) vs. Benson Henderson (24-6)

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

Competitiveness: 5: Incredibly evenly-matched. I’m really happy these two will square off at least once in their career.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 2
Prestige: 2: The belt needs rehabbed after Will Brooks dropped it without losing and moving to the UFC. It also hurts that Chandler lost twice to Brooks for the belt. Really feels secondary now.
Viewing Ease: 5

Total: 18


3. Invicta FC Bantamweight Championship: Tonya Evinger (c) (18-5) vs. Yana Kunitskaya (9-2)

When/Where: Friday, 8:00pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 2
Excitement: 4: Evinger usually puts on a good show. Sometimes that show ends with vomit and kissing interviewers against their will. Nevertheless.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4: I don’t know how long Evinger is going to hold the title, since the UFC actually has a functioning women’s bantamweight division, but she’s leaving a hell of a stamp on it.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 15


t4. Lion Fight Super Welterweight Championship: Jo Nattawut (c) (60-6-2) vs. Hasan Toy (14-7)

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

Competitiveness: 2: Lion Fight is hyping Toy up, but “Smokin’ Jo” is in another stratusphere. Anything can happen in Muay Thai, but this is a substandard opponent for a two-division champion.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4: Lion Fight still rules the roost in American muay thai. I wish they ran more shows, or they had some competition, but they’re it and by far for now.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 14


t4. Invicta FC Strawweight Championship: Angela Hill (c) (5-2) vs. Kaline Medeiros (8-4)

When/Where: Friday, 8:00pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 3: The more competitive of the two Invicta title fights, but there’s just not the cream of the crop for challengers, since they’re in the UFC already.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3: I think, like Evinger, Angie isn’t long for this title, because I’m guessing the UFC wants to bring her back asap.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 14