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. IBF World Female Junior Flyweight Championship: Evelyn Nazarena Bermudez (c) (13-0-1) vs. Tamara Elisabet Demarco (9-3)
When/Where: Sunday, Argentina TyC Sports
Prestige: 4: The only actual world championship on the line this weekend.
Viewing Ease: 1: C’mon now, it’s 2021, I don’t care if this is taking place on Venus, we should be able to have some sort of streaming option for a world title fight.
t2. Interim WBA World Junior Lightweight Championship: Chris Colbert (c) (15-0) vs. Tugstsogt Nyambayar (12-1)
When/Where: Saturday, 9:00pm, Showtime
Competitiveness: 5: Nyambayar is a fill-in for Yuriorkis Gamboa, which is a MUCH better fight.
Prestige: 4: Good lord, do I hate the WBA and their infinite titles.
Viewing Ease: 3
t2. Vacant Titan Fighting Championship Middleweight Championship: Bruno Assis (10-5) vs. Shane O’Shea (4-1)
When/Where: Friday, 8:00pm, UFC Fight Pass
Excitement: 5: Fourteen combined wins, twelve combined finishes.
Viewing Ease: 4: No UFC, Bellator, or PFL this weekend, but Fight Pass has three huge regionals: Titan, CFFC, and LFA.
t2. Vacant Legacy Fighting Alliance Light Heavyweight Championship: Jesse Murray (8-3) vs. Joshua Silveira (5-0)
When/Where: Friday, 9:00pm, UFC Fight Pass
Excitement: 4: Could be a slick submission fight, but all three of Murray’s losses have come by T/KO, so Silveira has a choice to make, here.
Prestige: 4: You know the drill, winner gets a ticket to the big show.
Viewing Ease: 4
1. Cage Fury Fighting Championship Welterweight Championship: Evan Cutts (c) (12-4) vs. Yohan Lainesse (6-0)
When/Where: Saturday, 8:00pm, UFC Fight Pass
Excitement: 4: Lainesse is one fight removed from a 14-second flying knee KO.
Juice: 2: Rare for an indy, but we have an actual defending champion against a top contender, as Lainesse has gone 3-0 in CFFC.
Viewing Ease: 4