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?


So here are your five best gold options for the weekend.


5. Vacant EBU European Union Heavyweight Championship: Joel Tambwe Djeko (17-2-1) vs. Tony Yoka (9-0)

When/Where: Friday, 2:40pm, ESPN+

Competitiveness: 3: Yoka, the Olympic gold medalist, takes another step on his (carefully constructed) road to contendership.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 4: I’ll never turn down weekday afternoon fights, because, well, I work from home.

Total: 14


t3. WBC/IBF/WBO/WBA Super World Junior Middleweight Championships: Claressa Shields (c) (10-0) vs. Marie-Eve Dicaire (c) (17-0)


Competitiveness: 4: Shields will probably never earn a 5 in this category because there really isn’t anyone on her level, but Dicaire is the IBF champion and the best fight they could have made.
Excitement: 2
Juice: 3
Prestige: 5: Unification bout alert!
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 16


t3. UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship: Amanda Nunes (c) (20-4) vs. Megan Anderson (11-4)

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

Competitiveness: 4: Megan has put together a couple of wins to make her eligible, but Nunes already put the greatest female fighter of all-time, who happens to be a featherweight, on her face.
Excitement: 3: Since she head-kicked Holly Holm, her last two fights have gone to the cards. Whether it’s because she’s slowing down, or she knew she doesn’t need to expel a ton of energy to win and preserve her longevity is to be seen.
Juice: 2
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 16


2. UFC Bantamweight Championship: Petr Yan (c) (15-1) vs. Aljamain Sterling (19-3)

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

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 4
Juice: 3: After seven years and 14 UFC fights, Sterling finally gets his world title shot.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 2: The rare case these days of a UFC PPV actually delivering for the steep price.

Total: 18


1. UFC Light Heavyweight Championship: Jan Blachowicz (c) (27-8) vs. Israel Adesanya (20-0)

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

Competitiveness: 5: It’s the UFC middleweight champion against the UFC light heavyweight champion. How much more competitive do you need?
Excitement: 5
Juice: 3: The Stylebender is attempting to become a champion in weight classes 20lbs apart.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 20

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