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. Bellator Bantamweight Championship: Juan Archuleta (c) (25-2) vs. Sergio Pettis (20-5)

When/Where: Friday, 9:00pm, Showtime

Competitiveness: 3: The win over Ricky Bandejas wasn’t bad, but if Sergio’s last name was Patterson, would he be getting so many high-profile opportunities?
Excitement: 2: These two are great fighters, but decision machines. Pettis was always a more safe, ground-based fighter compared to his more dynamic brother.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 13

 

4. LFL Flyweight Championship: Alessandro Costa (c) (8-2) vs. Jorge Calvo Martin (12-5)

When/Where: Friday, 10:00pm

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1: Gotta think the winner here, especially on Fight Pass, is going to get a look at the always-needed UFC flyweight division.
Prestige: 2
Viewing Ease: 4: LUX is probably the most noteworthy MMA promotion in Mexico, where it’s an enormous untapped market.

Total: 14

 

3. Vacant WBO International Junior Middleweight Championship: Liam Smith (29-2-1) vs. Magomed Kurbanov (21-0)

When/Where: Friday, 11:00am

Competitiveness: 5: The 25-year-old up-and-comer taking on the former world champion for perhaps one more run in the sun.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 2
Prestige: 3: This secondary title could merit a shot against WBO champion Brian Castano.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 17

 

t1. WBO World Junior Flyweight Championship: Elwin Soto (c) vs. Katsunari Takayama (32-8)

When/Where: Saturday, 8:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 5: Takayama moves up in weight to attempt to become a two-division world champion.
Excitement: 4: More power than you’d expect, particularly from Soto, who isn’t afraid to go for it in the championship rounds.
Juice: 2
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 20

 

t1. WBC/WBA Super/WBO World Super Middleweight Championships: Billy Joe Saunders (c) (30-0) vs. Saul Alvarez (55-1-2)

When/Where: Saturday, 8:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 4
Juice: 3: At long goddamned last, we finally get a unification bout with Saunders, despite his many objections.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4: Incredible that a legitimate $70-80 PPV being shown on DAZN.

Total: 20

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