Measuring Irvin’s Chances Against Silva


James Irvin. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

James Irvin doesn’t have much of a chance against Anderson Silva. Guess what? He knows it too…

From Yahoo! Sports:

“Since I’ve taken the fight, a lot of people have come up to me and asked, ‘What’s your game plan? What’s your game plan?’ ” Irvin said. “I go, ‘What kind of a game plan can I have against the guy? He’s better than me on the ground. He’s better than me standing up. What am I going to do?’ I don’t have to go in there and beat him at jiu-jitsu or beat him at Muay Thai. I can go in and fight the guy. I’ll go in and mix it all together and see if my style works with his or not.”

Irvin is 100% correct. Silva is better than him in all aspects and at this stage, finding a hole in his game is damn near impossible, so taking time to come up with any sort of strategy would essentially be a waste. However, in my opinion, not having a strategy at all is exactly what gives Irvin a chance in this fight.

Let’s think about it. Both Travis Lutter and Nate Marquardt wanted to come in, take Silva to the ground, and overwhelm him. That didn’t work. Rich Franklin wanted to use his awkward striking style to beat Silva. Obviously, that didn’t work. Dan Henderson was supposed to have the best chance as a former Olympic wrestler who would be able to bully Silva in the clinch. Too bad Silva is pretty strong himself.

With the exception of Chris Leben, all of the above came in with a gameplan and all failed miserably. Of course we know that it took Silva less than a minute to dismantle Leben, who wanted to come in and bang, but Irvin is a better technical striker than Leben. Come to think of it, many others in the middleweight division probably are as well.

Irvin is going to be a fresh face when it comes to an opponent for Silva. No one knows what Irvin is going to do in this fight, probably not even Irvin himself. Yet the element of unpredictability may be exactly what is needed to dethrone Silva at this point. Instead of trying to beat him in a calculated fashion, why not throw everything to the wind and just go for it? It’ll be the first time in a long time that someone has done that to him.

I’ve made a lot of bold predictions over the last year or so, (Forrest Griffin over Shogun, Sylvia over Big Nog), and have been somewhat successful, but I’m not about to bet against Silva at this point. He’s considered by many the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world for a reason. Yet at the same time, I wouldn’t really be surprised if Irvin pulled off the upset. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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