The Ecstasy of Gold: 5 Best Title Fights of the Weekend

The Ecstasy of Gold: 5 Best Title Fights of the Weekend

MMA

The Ecstasy of Gold: 5 Best Title Fights of the Weekend

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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. Glory Light Heavyweight Championship: Artem Vakhitov (c) (16-5) vs. Zack Mwekassa (15-3)

Saturday, 5:00pm. ESPN3

Competitiveness: 5: These are two of the best light heavyweights in the world who have passed like ships in the night away from each other. Now they finally meet and I’m very excited.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 2
Prestige: 4: This has been Glory’s weakest division and its title has been traded back and forth without any clear dominant champ.
Viewing Ease: 5

Total: 20

 

2. Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship: Liam McGeary (c) (11-0) vs. Phil Davis (16-3)

Friday, 9:00pm, Spike

Competitiveness: 5: Davis is the type of top-10 contender that can give McGeary’s reign some cred.
Excitement: 3: McGeary fights are usually always a great time, but he’s facing Phil Davis, so we’ll split it down the middle.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 5

Total: 18

 

3. EBI Light Heavyweight Championship:

Sunday, 8:00pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 5: Well, it’s a sixteen-man one-night tournament. Nothing more competitive than that.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1: The only juice that could’ve existed left when Gordon Ryan pulled out and thus not able to become a two-division champion.
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

 

4. WBO World Welterweight Championship: Jessie Vargas (c) (27-1) vs. Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2)

Saturday. 9:00pm. Pay-Per-View

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4: Yes, it’s a legit world title, but he won it while it was vacant by beating Sadam Ali and this is his first defense. Isn’t exactly shimmering right now.
Viewing Ease: 3: Bob Arum charging seventy dollars for this can drink my ass.

Total: 15

 

5. WBO World Junior Featherweight Championship: Nonito Donaire (c) (37-3) vs. Jessie Magdaleno (23-0)

Saturday. 9:00pm. Pay-Per-View

Competitiveness: 2: Magdaleno’s record is eight kinds of flimsy, and while Nonito isn’t in his prime anymore, he deserves better than a fighter who’s last two wins were a combined 34-17-1.
Excitement: 4: It’s still Nonito, you’re gonna get your money’s worth.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 14

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