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

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

Combat

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. UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship: Rose Namajunas (c) (7-3) vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-1)

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

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 3: It probably won’t be a barnburner. Joanna won’t take her for granted like last time, and will be more methodical, as these are by-far the longest fighters at 115, so it’ll be a distance fight.
Juice: 5: In an absolute stunner that put everyone out of their seats and their jaws on the floor, Thug Rose absolutely annihiliated the most dominant champion in the UFC, putting her on her wallet multiple times and making her look exceptionally inept.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 21

 

2. IBF World Super Middleweight Championship: Caleb Truax (c) (29-3-2) vs. James DeGale (23-2-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:00pm, Showtime

Competitiveness: 5: Sure, DeGale is better, but sometimes some fighters just have their opponent’s number. Ken Norton had Ali’s, Dennis Hallman had Matt Hughes’s. Stranger things have happened in the fight game.
Excitement: 2
Juice: 4: In the biggest boxing upset of 2017, Truax executed a flawless gameplan in front of DeGale’s home country and became a world champion. Can he do it again?
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 19

 

t3. Vacant UFC Lightweight Championship: Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0) vs. Max Holloway (19-3)

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

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 4
Juice: 3: Goddammit, Tony. Now this went from the biggest fight of the year to yet another late-notice fill-in.
Prestige: 4: This goddamned clusterfuck with Conor McGregor, the lightweight championship, and Dana White’s impotence at stripping him or decisive action has made the deepest division in MMA a punchline.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 18

 

t3. WBA/IBF/IBO World Junior Middleweight Championships: Erislandy Lara (c) (25-2-2) vs. Jarrett Hurd (c) (21-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:00pm, Showtime

Competitiveness: 5: Two legitimate world champions. Doesn’t get much more competitive than that.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 2
Prestige: 5: Awwww yeah! Love me some title unifications, and the winner becomes world champion of two sanctioning bodies and the highest secondary body.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 18

 

5. Bellator Kickboxing Welterweight Championship: Raymond Daniels (c) (33-3) vs. Djibril Ehouo (38-9-2)

When/Where: Friday, 11:15pm, Paramount Network

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 4: With Daniels, it’s always a high probability of some spinning shit.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 4: You’ll always be Spike to me, Paramount Network.

Total: 15

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