Friday Frills - McGregor vs Mendes

We've been waiting pretty much all year for UFC 189, so long in fact that we've even taking a few twists and turns on our way to UFC 189. Instead of fighting featherweight champion Jose Aldo, a fight which was being shopped around the world in a large-scale promo tour, Connor McGregor will fight Chad Mendes after Aldo had to pull out a few weeks ago after injuring his ribs in training.

So now, we get McGregor vs Mendes for the interim featherweight belt, with the winner likely to face (in Mendes' case another rematch) Aldo once he's healthy. But let's not get that far ahead of ourselves because while it might be a bummer that we don't get to see McGregor and Aldo go toe-to-toe after all their shenanigans, Mendes still provides an entertaining match up for the Irishman McGregor.

My interest in the UFC has peaked around the same time that McGregor has been ushered into the UFC as a highly marketable fighter who also has plenty of skill, but that's purely coincidental. However it has been fun to watch McGregor on his come up, albeit a come up helped greatly by the UFC who have basically put McGregor on a direct path to the title, which McGregor has obliged and held up his end of the bargain by winning fights dramatic fashion.

McGregor is the type of character you either love or hate, but it's best to try sit in the middle with him. You're either all in on what you have seen from McGregor with some heavy hands and very funky kicks which has him bouncing around all fight, or you believe that the UFC have played favourites with McGregor and he's had life pretty easy. Both sides are valid, but Mendes offers a huge threat to McGregors career arc, in fact some would say that Mendes is the favourite.

Mendes has the wrestle game down and this will be the first time McGregor will have had to deal with such a threat on the ground. It's shaping to be a fight that won't be too much of a come down from the Aldo vs McGregor hype and to be honest it's probably a better fight because McGregor has Mendes now standing in front of him, between him and a shot at the champion in Aldo. 

Either way, we've come to the point where there's no more gimme' fights for McGregor. The UFC can't put ho-hum opponents in the Octagon with him no more, he's now up against the best in the business and that's where this shit gets so exciting.

Also at UFC 189 we'll see young Rory MacDonald fighting Robbie Lawler, who holds the welterweight title belt. Lawler is the veteran with 25 wins while MacDonald is the youngster with seemingly endless potential who is from the same Tri-Star gym as George St Pierre, this will also be a great fight.

Sticking with the lovely surroundings of fighting and we're nearing the climax of Wimbledon with the ladies final set in stone - Serena Williams vs Garbine Muguruza. Williams beat Maria Sharapova this morning and it was interesting to read all the hype leading into this match up was about a rivalry, but I'm not sure how there can be a rivalry when Williams has beaten Sharapova 17 straight times, going back to 2004. There's no rivalry in women's tennis, it's all Serena Williams yo. 

Muguruza defeated Aga Radwanska and now faces and massive task against Williams but the 21 year old has shown that she's no mug with that racket thing. She has also shown that she can fight through tricky spots as she found herself scrambling after being 6-3, 3-1 up only to let Radwanska back into the match as she won the second set. Murguruza however bounced back admirably to win the third set and is now Spain's first Wimbledon finalist since 1996.

On the men's side we have our semi-finalist set with Andy Murray taking on Roger Federer while Richard Gasguet will try upset Novak Djokovic. There's plenty of sport on but these big tennis matches are always must-watch action.

Ashes Quickies

England hold a slight edge after the second day of the first Ashes Test with Australia still 166 runs behind with five wickets in hand. After Joe Root banged a rather majestic century on day one, Moeen Ali was England's key man on day two as he took two big wickets - Steve Smith and Michael Clarke, both in the 30's.

Chris Rogers has rewarded the selectors for their faith in him as Shaun Marsh was competing hard to partner David Warner at the top of Australia's batting line up, Rogers scored a dogged 95. Shane Watson and Nathan Lyon are currently not out.

Australia desperately need their tail to wag, which they have shown they can do and this is where we see the joys of Test cricket. Can Australia hang around and battle through the morning session of day three? It's a tough ask but this is where you have to earn the right to be in the contest on days four and five.

How weird is this it that Cricket Australia are going to play a Sheffield Shield game in Aotearoa? Lincoln, near Christchurch will host New South Wales and Western Australia on February 3 in a move that will see this game serve as a bit of a warm up for Australia's Test players as we'll be balls deep in the Chappell-Hadlee series. It's a weird one but if you're in the area it would be a game worth seeing as the CA obviously believe that a large portion of their Test team will play in this game.

Sticking with the 'taking games here and there' department and the NFL has announced a 10 year partnership with Tottenham Hotspurs/poo stains which will see Spurs host a two games a year starting in 2018 when it's new stadium is built. Their new stadium will feature an artifical turf pitch underneath a grass pitch to accommodate the Americans, how about that!?

It shows you what a bit of technology can do, if only we were that creative/smart with our money here in Aotearoa then maybe Auckland wouldn't be in such a shitty spot with it's stadiums. 

Valerie Adams appreciation...

Haidee Tiffin (coach of the White Ferns)/White Ferns appreciation 

What an amazing day. I love India and I love these beautiful children.

A photo posted by Haidee (@haidee_tiffen) on

Steve Hansen appreciation, shot uce...