Friday Frills - Ronda Rousey And The Kiwi Crew

Like we need an invitation to get frilly...

Like we need an invitation to get frilly...

Ronda Rousey is set to defend her crown as the best female MMA fighter in the world against Holly Holm in Melbourne this weekend at UFC 193. You probably know this already because any time Rousey nears a fight the hype starts to wind up as we all feel like we are witnessing greatness in the Octagon. 

I can't see Holm, let alone anyone else beating Rousey right now. Despite the extra-curricular activities and the constant headlines that Rousey generates, there's not many other athletes who possess such a visible determination to be the best and to dominate their sport for as long as they can. As Rousey's profile grows, she hasn't relinquished anything inside the octagon and that's a worry for ladies like Holm.

UFC 193 is in Melbourne which adds some funk to a typical Rousey fight, well for us any way. This is the first time that the UFC has ventured down to Melbourne after the state of Victoria switched their laws up to allow 'cage-fighting' events to take place in Victoria. Australians (like kiwis) are riding the UFC wave which when combined with the most exciting female athlete in the world should result in a packed house. I predicted it when this fight was announced and I'm going to stick by my opinion that UFC 193 will show the world just how popular the UFC and mixed martial arts is down under.

This could also be the last time or one of the last times we get to see our guy, Mark Hunt in action. Hunt will face Antonio 'Bigfoot' Silva in a rematch of their brutal fight in 2013 and at 41 years of age, who knows what Hunt's future holds. Everything about Hunt appears to be better for UFC 193 as he looks fitter and fresher than he did leading into his worrying loss to Steven Stipe Miocic.

I simply can't bet against Hunt, such is my love for him and after seeing how much he has changed in his preparation from the Miocic fight, I'm all in. Throw in the fact after their epic draw, Bigfoot Silva failed a post-fight drug test which means that Hunt went to war with a juiced up Silva and still managed a brutal draw. 

A Hunt victory could see him extend his career, which would be reasonably mental. Hunt is a knockout artist who serves up exciting fights and draws in crowds regardless of his opponent or where the fight is. While Hunt isn't in the same realm as Rousey or Connor McGregor, he's one of the more dependable fighters in the UFC which will ensure that as long as he continues to be able to fight at a high level, there will be work for him. Hunt has however had a tough time lately and while that's a bit of a worry, his determination to right the ship after that loss to Miocic fills me with hope.

Don't sleep of Robert Whittaker who is half dingo, half kiwi and who will fight the biggest fight of his promising career. Whittaker will come up against Uriah Hall, who hasn't quite lived up to the hype he generated on the Ultimate FIghter but is still a consistent presence in the UFC and he will present Whittaker with a hell of a challenge. 

The All Whites won overnight, which will please the Wildcard as he was getting a tad depressed about the lack of wins for the All Whites. The Wildcard will have his thoughts about the All Whites up sometime today and my comrade also kept it real about Jarryd Hayne, who continues to show how silly the Aussie media can be...

I found a few cool yarns about some kiwi sportsmen, starting with Nehe Milner-Skudder who has been hand picked to play for the Barbarians against Argentina next weekend. Milner-Skudder will join Waisake Naholo, Charlie Faumuina, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Ryan Crotty, Lima Sopoaga and Ardie Savea. 

Then there was this from the Western Weekender who spoke with promising kiwi half Te Maire Martin after his move from the Wests Tigers to the Penrith Panthers. Martin doesn't hold back in outlining the differences between the two clubs and puts the situation at the Tigers into some perspective while also getting me excited about the prospect of seeing him playing in the NRL next season.

The Black Sticks women's squad for the World Hockey League Final in Argentina has been named. The WHL Finals go down early next month and the kiwi ladies will be eager to push for a semi-final or final spot, especially given that this is one of the strongest ladies squads of recent memory. Then take a look at the ages of the players named and you can't help but get excited about the future for this group. 

Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey Steven Adams!