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?



5. Brave 165lb Catchweight Championship: Eldar Eldarov (c) (12-1) vs. Leonardo Mafra (15-5)

When/Where: Saturday, 10:00am,

Competitiveness: 4: You may remember Mafra from two wholly uninspiring UFC stints, meanwhile Eldarov is putting together a pretty solid resume for Brave, although this would be his biggest name win to date.
Excitement: 2
Juice: 1
Prestige: 1
Viewing Ease: 2: Fifteen bucks is a pretty hard pill to swallow, but Ali Bagautinov, one of my favorite fighters who should still be in the UFC is on it.

Total: 10


4. OPBF Welterweight Championship: Riku Nagahama (c) (12-2-1) vs. Ryota Toyoshima (12-2-1)

When/Where: Saturday, Untelevised

Competitiveness: 4
Excitement: 3: Toyoshima has some serious power in his hands, and at only 25, has time to fill out his game.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3
Viewing Ease: 1: No joke, I’d pay 30 bucks a month for an All-Korakuen streaming service, where you get all boxing, kickboxing, and wrestling events just from Korakuen Hall.

Total: 12


3. OPBF Bantamweight Championship: Keita Kurihara (c) (15-5) vs. Takuma Inoue (13-1)

When/Where: Thursday, Untelevised

Competitiveness: 5: Kurihara has his work cut out for him, defending his strap against a former interim world champion and current top-10 bantamweight in Inoue.
Excitement: 3
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3: We are in the golden age of Japanese boxing, and the Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation is a launching pad for future world champions.
Viewing Ease: 1

Total: 13


t1. WBC/IBF/Vacant IBO World Female Minimumweight Championships: Tina Rupprecht (c) (10-0-1) vs. Yokasta Valle (c) (20-2)

When/Where: Saturday, Untelevised

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 2
Juice: 3: These two faced each other in June of 2018 for Rupprecht’s WBC title with Rupprecht prevailing in a close, but unanimous decision.
Prestige: 5: The only world title on the line for any combat sport this weekend.
Viewing Ease: 1

Total: 16


t1. Vacant LFA Lightweight Championship: Arthur Estrazulas (12-4) vs. Nick Browne (10-1)

When/Where: Friday, 9:00pm, UFC Fight Pass

Competitiveness: 5
Excitement: 3: A couple of submission artists squaring off, which, if they play their game and don’t overthink, should be a fun tussle.
Juice: 1
Prestige: 3: The winner is going to sign with a major league promotion, it’s almost law at this point.
Viewing Ease: 4

Total: 16

View the original article on Undercard Superstar: The Ecstasy of Gold: 5 Best Title Fights of the Week