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. WBC Diamond Middleweight Championship/WBA Super World Super Middleweight Championship: Callum Smith (c) (24-0) vs. George Groves (c) (28-3)

When/Where: Friday, 1:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 4
Juice: 3: The finals of the World Boxing Super Series Super Middleweight tournament, which has been a ton of fun.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4: We are fully in the swing of the DAZN era. Hopefully things can go off without a hitch on this big weekend for them.

Total: 21

 

2. Glory Featherweight Championship Unification Bout: Petchpanomrung Kiatmookao (ic) (157-36-2) vs. Robin van Roosmalen (c) (51-17)

When/Where: Saturday, 3:00pm, ESPN3

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 2: These two tend to be very, very methodical and take their time in fights. This could be….slow.
Juice: 2
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 4: Enjoy these free cards (if you have ESPN, that is) on ESPN3 while you can, before everything gets thrown on ESPN+

Total: 17

 

t3. Bellator Middleweight Championship: Gegard Mousasi (c) (44-6-2) vs. Rory MacDonald (20-4)

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

Competitiveness: 3: Weird matchup, here! In what’s essentially a light heavyweight against a welterweight, it’s hard to find a barometer and recent common opponents. Stylistically, it could be a good time, but this is hard to gauge.
Excitement: 4: Again, it’s hard to gauge how this will go, but if it’s on the feet, it’s a technically brilliant striker against the most blood-and-guts fighter this side of Robbie Lawler.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

 

t3. Glory Heavyweight Championship: Rico Verhoeven (c) (54-10) vs. Guto Inocente (35-8)

When/Where: Saturday, 3:00pm, ESPN3

Competitiveness: 3: Rico has been the king of the heavyweight mountain in Glory for nearly five years now, and while Inocente isn’t the toughest opponent on paper he’s faced, he is a fresh and worthy challenger.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5: There’s possibly no fighter in combat sports more attached currently to a title than Rico and Glory’s heavyweight championship.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

 

5. LFA Women’s Flyweight Championship: Sabina Mazo (c) (5-0) vs. Jaimelene Nievera (7-4)

When/Where: Friday, 10:00pm, AXS

Competitiveness: 2
Excitement: 3: Mazo has killshot power in her kicks, so it’s the highlight reel if she lands it, but whether she goes for it is another matter.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3: Mazo is only the second LFA women’s champ at 125, the other was KGB Lee. Like most other LFA titles, it’s a surefire way to get to the show, especially in the most shallow UFC division.
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 12

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