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.

 

t5. UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship: Valentina Shevchenko (c) (21-3) vs. Lauren Murphy (15-4)

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

Competitiveness: 3: I know it’s hard finding challengers at 125lbs, and Murphy is a legit contender, but there’s such a gulf between the champion and the challengers at women’s flyweight.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 2: The ever-rare UFC PPV these days worth the money!

Total: 15

 

t5. WBO World Cruiserweight Championship: Lawrence Okolie (c) (16-0) vs. Dilan Prasovic (15-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 2:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 2: Prasovich has never fought outside of central/eastern Europe, and is coming off of a 6-rounder against a 7-29-1 opponent.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4: Joshua-Usyk is PPV-quality, and it being on DAZN is awesome for us, plebes.

Total: 15

 

3. UFC Featherweight Championship: Alexander Volkanovski (c) (22-1) vs. Brian Ortega (15-1)

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

Competitiveness: 5: I’d still like to see a third Holloway bout, but this will do until then.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 1
Prestige: 5: Featherweight might be the biggest shark tank in the UFC. Holloway is still lurking, Giga Chikadze is almost ready for a title fight, and guys like Calvin Kattar, Dan Ige, Chan Sung Jung, and Edson Barboza are really, really hard outs.
Viewing Ease: 2

Total: 17

 

2. ONE Strawweight Championship: Joshua Pacio (c) (17-3) vs. Yosuke Saruta (21-9-3)

When/Where: Friday, 6:30am, B/R Live

Competitiveness: 5: This is the rubber match and third title fight between the two. Suffice it to say, they’re pretty even.
Excitement: 4
Juice: 5: January 2019, Saruta defeats Pacio by split-decision to win the ONE Strawweight title. April 2019, Pacio knocks out Saruta with a head kick to reclaim the ONE Strawweight championship. September 2021, the final chapter for the Strawweight title.
Prestige: 4
Viewing Ease: 3

Total: 21

 

1. WBA Super/IBF/WBO/IBO World Heavyweight Championships: Anthony Joshua (c) (24-1) vs. Oleksandr Usyk (18-0)

When/Where: Saturday, 2:00pm, DAZN

Competitiveness: 5: Usyk rolled through the cruiserweight division, then successfully moved up to heavyweight and is now the secondary WBO champ. It’s time.
Excitement: 5
Juice: 3: Gotta think the winner here takes on the Fury-Wilder winner to unify the heavyweight division.
Prestige: 5
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 22

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