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James Irvin: The Spoiler?

The UFC is banking on Anderson Silva getting a highlight reel knockout win over James Irvin on July 19th.  While I do think that is the most likely result, Irvin is definitely capable of knocking Silva out.  This is nowhere near the "safe" fight some people are making it out to be.

Rampage Jackson once said James Irvin was the hardest hitter he'd ever sparred with.  Jackson doesn't just say stuff like that, and he has sparred with many great strikers.  The power in Irvin's hands is also pretty apparent in his fights, where he has looked very good on his feet, despite a series of bad breaks.  Everyone has seen his spectacular flying knee KO of Terry Martin, but people often forget that he dropped Thiago Silva with one punch at the beginning of their fight at UFC 71, only to lose because he injured his leg in a freak accident.  Since then, he had another controversial fight with Luis Cane, and knocked out Houston Alexander in eight seconds.

James Irvin is a very dangerous striker.  He was picked as a sacraficial lamb for Houston Alexander back in April, but that backfired in a big way.  This is pretty much the biggest opportunity of his career, and I think he has more than a puncher's chance.

I definitely think Anderson Silva is going to win this fight, but it's not going to be a walk in the park.