Chas Skelly will be making his long awaited return to the Octagon this Saturday when he takes on Jamall Emmers. For Skelly, this will be his first appearance in the UFC since September 17, 2019, when he secured a unanimous decision win over Jordan Griffin.

The veteran had a bout booked for UFC 246 — McGregor vs Cowboy — last January with Grant Dawson. The bout was then moved to February following an issue on Dawson’s end, but it never ended up happening. Skelly had to withdraw due to an injury that was later revealed to be quite severe. During routine training exercises, Skelly suffered an upper body injury in what he described as a “freak accident.”

The now 35 year-old stated at the time that the injury could be career threatening. “I’m going to try to rehab this injury,” Skelly told James Lynch of The Score at the time. “If I had to have another major surgery, it would probably be the end of my career,” he continued.

Thankfully, the longtime UFC veteran was able to successfully rehab his injury and will be making his return.

Primarily a grappler, Skelly is always a submission threat and looks to use heavy wrestling. Of course, the time off here will be a big factor. Skelly is 35 and coming off of a nasty injury. He has spoken about his post-UFC career, which is an indicator that he may see retirement looming one way or another. This isn’t a knock on Chas Skelly or his fighting career, but from a betting standpoint, it is noteworthy.

As for Jamall Emmers, this is a guy who is being seriously overlooked in my eyes. Prior to his UFC career, the Bobby Green training partner was an LFA champion. Perhaps even more noteworthy is the quality of opponents faced prior to reaching the UFC. Emmers has fought (and lost) to Thiago Moises and Julian Erosa, but these losses aren’t anything to be ashamed of. MMA isn’t like boxing where guys need perfect records, and a-lot of times we see fighters who took losses against killers early on find success later.

Plus, Emmers also defeated Cory Sandhagen back in 2017. I doubt he could repeat if they fought tomorrow, but a win like that is a confidence builder at a minimum. At most, it’s a measuring stick for the abilities of Jamall Emmers.

As for the UFC, Emmers has gone 1-1 with the loss coming in his debut against Giga Chikadze. It was a very, very close fight in which I initially thought Emmers won, but I ultimately could see it going either way. A pivotal moment in that fight was a reversal Chikadze had off an Emmers take down. It was only for a couple seconds, but it won him the first round and with it, the fight in the eyes of the judges.

With that said, Chikadze has since gone on a rampage. Nobody has looked half as good as Emmers did against Chikadze. To lose a razor close fight to a surging contender isn’t anything to be ashamed of , so another “good loss” for Emmers.

After that, the 31 year-old bounced back in dominant fashion against Vince Cachero. If the hype is real on Emmers, he put on the performance you would want to see in a fight like that. He dominated all three rounds and looked fantastic on the feet.

For this one, it’s hard not to go with Emmers. Chas Skelly is a dangerous veteran, but his path to victory is rather one dimensional. Emmers is underrated in the grappling department if he needs to defend submissions, but I don’t think Skelly will have much success taking him down. I see Emmers keeping this one standing and making Skelly pay for take down attempts.

I’m expecting either Jamall Emmers to get the finish or secure a unanimous decision. I just don’t see this current iteration of Skelly being able to “Khabib” an underrated prospect.

For me, a decision prop is too uncertain here. The line currently sits around (-235) on Emmers, which is a great parlay value. I was able to get in a bit early at (-200) and put 1u on that and Tom Aspinall moneyline at (-265). I also threw 50 on a multi-week parlay with Israel Adesanya, and another sprinkle bet on a parlay of Emmers moneyline, John Castaneda moneyline and Spivak moneyline. I’m a big fan of multi-week parlays if you’re looking to bet the UFC straight.

And just a side note, I’m not always recommending that people copy my parlays. I give breakdowns on individual fights and aim to provide readers with helpful analysis. The only reason I post my parlays is to show that I’m putting money where my mouth is, and I use these picks with other sports as well. Best of luck!

Prediction and play: Jamall Emmers moneyline (-200)

More UFC Vegas 19 Breakdowns:

Tom Aspinall vs. Andrei Arlovski

John Castaneda vs. Eddie Wineland

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