One of the preliminary card bouts at UFC Fight Night 60 is a three-round featherweight bout between Chas Skelly and Jim Alers. According to the current betting lines available at 5Dimes Sportsbook, Skelly is a -185 favorite (bet $185 to win $100) while Alers is a +160 underdog (bet $100 to win $160). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Skelly at -165 and Alers at +125 and early action is on the favorite Skelly. I agree with the line movement as I am picking Skelly to win this fight. Here’s why. Skelly (13-1) is 2-1 in the UFC with a submission win over Tom Niinimaki, a decision win over Sean Soriano, and a decision loss to Mirsad Bektic. The 29-year-old American is an excellent grappler capable of taking down most featherweights in the UFC. He has excellent submission skills on the ground (seven career sub wins) and he is very good at controlling his opponents from top position. Training with Johny Hendricks at Team Takedown, it’s no surprise how good he is in the wrestling department, but like Hendricks, his striking leaves a lot to be desired, as does his cardio. However, he is working hard to improve those areas of the game. Skelly won’t have to worry about his striking too much against Alers in this matchup as his opponent is a BJJ player who will likely choose to grapple with Skelly. And unless Skelly gets caught in a sub from the bottom, it’s hard to see him getting outwrestled by Alers, and thus it makes sense Skelly is the favorite heading into the fight. Alers (13-1) made his UFC debut last year, defeating Alan Omer via split decision in a competitive back-to-back fight. The 28-year-old American has not fought since last April and will be coming off of a 10-month injury layoff when he faces Skelly. A grappler, Alers has won nine fights by submission, including a number of his fights in Cage Warriors. An MMA pro since 2008, Alers has no notable wins on his resume except for Freddy Assuncao, the brother of UFC bantamweight contender Raphael Assuncao. Alers trains at American Top Team and is constantly improving his game, but he has yet to prove he is a complete fighter in the Octagon. From what we have seen, he has a very good ground game but his striking leaves a lot to be desired. Working with some great sparring partners at ATT, I expect his standup to improve, but he still has a lot of work to do in that department if he wants to be a contender. But there’s no doubt his ground game is legit. He will have the chance to submit Skelly in this fight as it’s likely to hit the floor, but he’ll likely have to do so from the bottom as Skelly is the better wrestler in the matchup, and although both have good grappling skills, I think you have to favor the better wrestler, and that’s Skelly in this particular matchup. I don’t think Skelly will ever contend for the featherweight title, but I think he can be a top-10 featherweight, and a win over Alers will go a long way to getting him a fight against a bigger name. Skelly has shown a great grappling game in his first two UFC fights and I expect him to do it again against Alers, who is a BJJ fighter and who will likely be willing to play with Skelly on the mat. Look for Skelly to get the takedowns in this fight, hold top position, and grind out Alers over the course of three rounds en route to a decision win. With a line under 2-to-1, Skelly is definitely someone to keep in mind in to put into a two-team parlay next weekend.
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