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

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


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?


5. IBF World Featherweight Championship: Josh Warrington (c) (29-0) vs. Sofiane Takoucht (35-3-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 3:00pm, ESPN+

Competitiveness: 2: Takoucht is a secondary IBF champ, so he’s legit in line, especially with how strict the IBF is with their titles, but at his core, he’s an eight-round French club fighter.
Excitement: 2
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4: I’m really getting used to ESPN+’s 3pm UK cards. You can set your damned watch to it and afternoon boxing is damned solid while I’m watching Notre Dame disappoint me.

Total: 14


4. WBA World Light Heavyweight Championship: Dmitry Bivol (c) (16-0) vs. Lenin Castillo (20-2-1)

When/Where: Saturday, 7:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 2
Excitement: 4: Castillo won’t win, but he should make it interesting. He’s an absolute bomber. When he stepped up in competition and fought Marcus Browne last August, he lost every round, except for the round that he put Browne on his wallet. He’ll lose, but he’ll do it swinging.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5: This is one WBA title where there’s no distinction between “Regular” or “Super”. Just a damned world championship.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16


3. Glory Lightweight Championship: Marat Grigorian (c) (57-11-1) vs. Tyjani Beztati (19-3)

When/Where: Saturday, 3:00pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 5: Beztati might be the best under-the-radar fighter in Glory. He’s amassed a 8-2 record in the promotion, including wins over Josh Jauncey, Christian Baya, and Niclas Larsen, yet he’s a virtual unknown.
Excitement: 2
Juice: 3: This is Grigorian’s first title defense of a title he chased doggedly for years. He came up short in two title shots and a contender tournament. Usually after a fighter finally wins the top of the mountain, one of two things happen: Either the dream has finally occured, the apex reached, and they lose the hunger that drove them. Think Michael Bentt or Buster Douglas. Or, they go into overdrive, and they’ll be goddamned if YOU are going to take their birthright from them. Like Georges St. Pierre or Marvin Hagler.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 19


t1. OneFC Women’s Atomweight Championship: Xiong Jingnan (c) (14-1) vs. Angela Lee (9-2)

When/Where: Saturday, 8:00pm, OneFC App

Competitiveness: 4: These two are clearly the class of female fighters at OneFC, and seeing them battle each other is great for the Asian MMA scene, where female MMA needs all the support it can get. That being said, Xiong did TKO Lee at Jingnan’s weight, those are just the facts, so I can’t give this a 5.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 5: In March, Lee went up in weight and challenged Jingnan for her strawweight title, and got TKO’d in the fifth. Now Xiong follows Lee down to atomweight to fight for her title. Awesome, awesome matchup and rivalry this has become.
Prestige: 2
Viewing Ease: 5: On an actual watchable time!!

Total: 20


t1. WBA/WBC World Women’s Junior Welterweight Championships: Jessica McCaskill (c) (7-2) vs. Erica Anabella Farias (26-3)

When/Where: Saturday, 7:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 4: Women’s boxing isn’t littered with dynamic fighters, but McCaskill is pretty damned fun to watch.
Juice: 3: Almost exactly one year ago, McCaskill defeated Farias for Farias’s WBC world title in a competitive bout. McCaskill added the WBA title in May, and now both belts are on the line.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 20

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