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

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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. UFC Welterweight Championship: Kamaru Usman (c) (18-1) vs. Jorge Masvidal (35-14)

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

Competitiveness: 2: Sure, Masvidal had absolutely nothing for Usman, but he had no time to prepare. Sure. But what is his path to victory, exactly? Especially against an Usman who’s had time to prepare specifically for Masvidal? Jorge is going to counting lights for the better part of a half-hour.
Excitement: 2
Juice: 3: Coming off the heels of their BARNBURNER last July.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 14

 

4. UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship: Valentina Shevchenko (c) (20-3) vs. Jessica Andrade (21-8)

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

Competitiveness: 4: Andrade has shown time and again that she doesn’t let her size, at 5’1″ and change stop her from defeating much larger opponents. She TKO’d 5’9″ Katlyn Chookagian with body punches, and we all remember her slam on Rose Namajunas. However, in Valentina, she’s facing a fighter who knows how to use her length to her advantage and won’t let Andrade get in close.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 2: One of the rare cards that justifies the price.

Total: 15

 

3. WBO World Featherweight Championship: Emanuel Navarrete (c) (32-1) vs. Christopher Diaz (26-2)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:00pm, ESPN/ESPN+

Competitiveness: 3: After failing to capture the WBO World Junior Lightweight title against Masayuki Ito, Diaz dropped down to featherweight and…got routed by Shakur Stevenson for two secondary titles two years ago. Two decisions over two middling fighters and here we are. Not exactly a runaway freight train of momentum.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4: Tough that this is going against a loaded UFC card.

Total: 16

 

2. UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship: Zhang Weili (c) (21-1) vs. Rose Namajunas (9-4)

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

Competitiveness: 3
Excitement: 5: Zhang will do her part, if Rose wants to wade in, she’ll have as much as she can handle.
Juice: 3: Not a ton until Rose started talking like a 1960 Uncle Sam propaganda poster, now a lot of people want to see Zhang unleash on her.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 18

 

1. WBC World Junior Flyweight Championship: Kenshiro Teraji (c) (17-0) vs. Tetsuya Hisada (34-10-2)

When/Where: Friday, 11:30pm, YouTube

Competitiveness: 4: Don’t let Hisada’s record fool you, he was once 21-9-2 in his career before going on a 13-fight tear and is coming off of an unsuccessful, but close world title challenge of Hiroto Kyoguchi.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 2
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 5: Championship Japanese boxing on YouTube?! Sign my gaijin ass up.  This is exactly what I ask for when there are no streaming options for Japanese boxing.  Just someone get in there and put it on YT, I’ll gladly pay for it, even.

Total: 20

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