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 Lightweight Championship: Khabib Nurmagomedov (c) (26-0) vs. Conor McGregor (21-3)

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

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 5: One-shot knockout power against a man who makes MMA wrestling look like a snuff film. Something’s gotta give on a fantastic level.
Juice: 5: Handtrucks, shattered windows, accusations of dictator ties, etc…, it’s a McGregor fight, you know the schlock by now.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 23

 

t2. WBA World Junior Welterweight Championship: Kiryl Relikh (c) (22-2) vs. Eduard Troyanovsky (27-1)

When/Where: Sunday, 7:00am, DAZN

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 4: Aside from Relikh’s last two wins, he has 19 of 20 by T/KO, and Troyanovsky is 24/27. These boys have some hands.
Juice: 3: Has the extra umph of not only being a world title fight, but being in the utterly fantastic World Boxing Super Series.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 21

 

t2. WBA World Bantamweight Championship: Naoya Inoue (c) (16-0) vs. Juan Carlos Payano (20-1)

When/Where: Sunday, 7:00am, DAZN

Competitiveness: 4: Payano is a legit contender and a former world champion, but he lost that belt almost two and a half years ago, and he’s 34 now. Coupled with the fact that Inoue is not of this world, and, yeah.
Excitement: 5
Juice: 3
Prestige: 5: Normally this is a 4 because of the WBA’s never-endingly moronic “regular” championships, but being in the WBSS bumps it up.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 21

 

4. IBF World Light Heavyweight Championship: Artur Beterbiev (c) (12-0) vs. Callum Johnson (17-0)

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

Competitiveness: 3: Beterbiev is an absolute monster and has been since making his pro debut five years ago at 28. Johnson is a fine fighter whose biggest win is Frank Buglioni and two fights previous was fighting a fellow with an 18-49-2 record.
Excitement: 5: Beterbiev has ended all of his pro bouts by T/KO, and Johnson isn’t shy about a very early stoppage, either. Add in the weight class, and this could end very violently and suddenly.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 18

 

5. WBC World Junior Bantamweight Championship: Srisaket Sor Rungvisai (c) (46-4-1) vs. Iran Diaz (14-2-3)

When/Where: Saturday, 6:30am, OneFC App

Competitiveness: 2: Diaz is a decent gatekeeper, but his ceiling has probably been reached. His most notable win was probably Luis Concepcion, and he’s been bested by fighters on the rise. This will get some different eyeballs on Wisaksil, and that’s what it is, a showcase.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 5: OneFC is in the Srisaket business now. What’s nice is that in addition to a legit world champion boxer, you get a solid-ass OneFC card on the end of it. Did I mention it’s FREE??

Total: 17

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