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Sam's Corner

This is the first Interview by our staff writer, Sam Kaufmann. He currently is writer, photographer and editor for The Andrews County news. Sam will be interviewing past, present and future Premier Fight Series fighters, coaches and fans. His first assignment was with PFS1's main event fighter, non other than The Scrapper himself, UFC vet, and Team Takedowns own, Chas Skelly.



For much of his professional MMA career, Chas Skelly’s success has stemmed mainly from a
wrestling base.
After all, Skelly earned NAIA All-American honors during his collegiate wrestling
career at Oklahoma City University in the mid-2000s and before that was a high school state
champion in Oklahoma. That’s where his background lies—in grappling.
Skelly later got into mixed
 martial arts after a stint as a wrestling partner with current UFC fighter Johnny Bedford.
Though he has excelled in his professional MMA career through clinch fighting, takedowns and an-
ensuing dominant and technical top game, Skelly has also emphasized the need to become
multi-faceted in his fighting. He’s worked hard to become an established striker and he possesses
a solid submission game to go along with his top-notch grappling skills.
It's tough to be one-dimensional at higher fighting levels, he said of the need to hone other aspects. Skelly was signed earlier this year with the UFC and battled another up-and-comer—Mirsad Bektic—in both fighters' UFC featherweight debut last April in Orlando on Fox. “My base is definitely wrestling, but you have to well-rounded to win at this level,” said Skelly. “You know, it's a progressive thing. You always have to be working hard on your game or you'll get left behind.” Signing with the UFC was a matter of time for Skelly, who posted two impressive submission wins over present UFC featherweight Daniel Pineda and compiled an 11-0 record prior to the signing. Skelly had his sights set on the UFC for some time. “Obviously when I started it was definitely the goal,” he said. “The first goal was to go 10-0 and after that the goal was to get in the UFC and the next is to win.”
The 29-year-old Skelly, nicknamed “The Scrapper,” fights out of Keller Texas with Team Takedown. Skelly began his professional MMA career in 2009 and after posting two wins he was signed by Bellator MMA. After winning his first seven pro fights, Skelly experienced adversity when he was injured in a fight with Pineda. Skelly got caught in a hold and broke his toe and sustained tendon complications. He was out of commission for nearly two years between 2010 and 2012. “That put me out for a long time,” Skelly said of the injury. “But in this sport, you are always hurting and (battle) injuries—you always have to deal with it (and overcome those obstacles).” Skelly came back with a vengeance by winning his next four fights—including a unanimous decision over Jarrod Card at Bellator 96 in June 2013 that set the stage for his UFC signing.
Both Skelly and Bektic are considered fighters with bright UFC futures and their recent featherweight bout in Florida was a good one. They were undefeated coming in and Skelly had Bektic on the ropes at one point after a powerful knee to the head. But Bektic came back and won by a majority decision. “I caught him with some hard shots but he's tough,” Skelly said of Bektic. “He's really tough and well-rounded so it was hard to take that first loss, but it is what it is.” Skelly will be looking for his first UFC win when he fights Tom Niinimaki in a UFC Fight Night bout in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Aug. 23. “I think if can perform to the level I'm capable of, everything will work out for me,” Skelly said of possibly earning his first UFC victory.