But yeah, in the grand scheme of things, battles like Kakuzu vs. Izumo and Kotetsu would seem like small battles.. Lets just hope the Jinchuriki, Kages and the better Akatsuki (Nagato, Itachi) show their faces in battle soon.
And of course, then we have Madara to consider.. But I agree that these battles feel as if we're just wasting time in order to get to the main course, but that doesn't imply that they're just small battles.. I mean Kankuro is facing the best puppeteer in history.. and along with that he has to watch out for Kimimaro as well, Orochimaru's protegé pre-Sasuke, and Hanzou's poison..
But then again, Mifune is taking care of Hanzou, and Lee/Gai will probably begin fighting against Kimimaro at some point.