Quite a few people have been bagging on Erick Silva for fighting wildly against a grinding wrestler like Jon Fitch, saying that he should've fought more safely. I expressed my view in an earlier thread that Erick fought with a rational gameplan. This got a couple of responses that I didn't respond to because, well, I was feeling lazy, but uhhh.... I'M HERE NOW, BITCH.
But anyway, like I said in the other thread, people swooned over Erick Silva's wild all-out offense style when he used it to beat Charlie Brenneman, but they're now acting like they *always* knew it would eventually become a liability. Maybe I was misjudging the critics as flip-floppers, and maybe the people who are currently criticizing Erick's style truly had reservations about it in previous fights, but I stand by my point that Erick fought with what was theoretically a sound gameplan.
He fought like a nutcase against Brenneman, completely disrespecting the latter's wrestling, and dammit, it won him the fight. Is there anything about Jon Fitch's skillset that's fundamentally different from Brenneman's, other than that Fitch happens to be better at the things Brenneman specializes in? Not that I can think of; they're both strong wrestlers, and Fitch is the better wrestler. It's hard to blame Erick or his corner for thinking that Erick should've used the same gameplan he used against Brenneman for his fight against Fitch, because it worked so well for Erick the first time.
Erick isn't like Melvin Guillard, who throws stupid flying knees against grapplers. Erick's shown that he's able to complement his wild striking with solid defensive grappling against strong top-control wrestlers, so he doesn't have to be so timid in his standup. Also, Erick strikes me as the type of fighter who has to really believe that he can pull off idiotically irresponsible tactics to make them work. When he fought Brenneman, I felt like Erick won more because of his self-confidence than having some amazing gameplan, so I don't feel like it's my place to tell him to repress his fighting 'personality' when he fought Fitch.
Not that much of this matters, for the simple fact that Erick's crazy spinning kicks and flying knees didn't even decide the fight. People act like he got taken down over and over again every time he threw one of those, but he only got taken down once in the first round following one of his crazy strikes, and he got back up in about a minute--standard Erick Silva affair. After that, the next two rounds were almost all grappling. If you're going to blame Erick for poor gameplanning, blame him for having inferior cardio and grappling skills compared to Fitch, because those are what determined the fight.
But the underlying message I'm trying to get out is that MMA fans all too often act like know-it-alls. Mac Danzig was right when he said sarcastically that if every fighter followed the fans' advice, they'd all be undefeated. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that people first criticized Gray Maynard for fighting too offensively in the first round against Frankie Edgar in their first rematch, and then criticized Maynard for being too passive against Edgar in their third fight. Same thing when Cain Velasquez lost against JDS; people kept ragging on Cain for not bumrushing takedown attempts against JDS off the bat, yet we've talked so many times about how in modern MMA, wrestlers generally have to set up their takedowns with striking.
Erick Silva may have fought with a dumb gameplan (which I obviously don't think he did), but let him and his team work that problem out. I'm just a little MMA fan who's only had like 4 months of muay Thai and BJJ training; I am not an authority figure when it comes to fighting, and the vast majority of you guys aren't too, so relax on the criticizing. In addition, hindsight is 20/20; trying to predict who'd win in a stylistic clash is what makes MMA so fun to watch, but quit acting like you guys always knew who'd win out based on styles.