Miletich Fighters Claim 2 National Titles
UFC Veteran Mark Hughes Suffers An Upset Loss In ‘Super Bout’
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Two fighters from the Miletich Martial Arts Center captured weight-division titles Saturday at the 2000 U.S. MMA National Championships.
Robbie Lawler, an 18-year-old from Bettendorf, Iowa, won the 170-pound division with a pair of knockout victories. He stopped Ernie Ward of Spring City, Tenn. in the first round before stopping hometown favorite Jerry Hudspeth of Springfield, Ill., at 3:05 of the first round.
Steve Rusk, a former University of Illinois wrestling star, was the second Miletich fighter to win as he defeated K.C. Staples of Auburn, Ala., at 1:44 of the first round in the finals of the heavyweight division. Rusk, from Orion, Ill., weighed only 200 pounds and competed up a division.
The MMA Nationals is an amateur event that pits with winners of Trials events during the year against each other in a tournament format. This year’s event was held at the Eagles Club in front of a sold-out crowd.
Other weight-division winner were: John Paun of Marquette, Mich., at 150 pounds; Jason Rigsby of Ottawa, Ill., at 190 pounds; and Brad Lynde of Rockton, Ill., at 210 pounds.
There was a bit of an upset in a professional "super bout" as Joe Geromiller of St. Louis defeated UFC veteran Mark Hughes by rear choke at 4:12 into the second round. It was a competitive bout with Hughes controlling position early and getting several takedowns. Hughes tried an armbar midway through the second round, which Geromiller defended and gained top position. From there, Geromiller was able to get Hughes’ back, which led to the finishing choke.
The loss ended a run of nine straight wins by Hughes, including his UFC debut at the end of last year.
In attendance were UFC fighters Pat Miletich, Jeremy Horn, Jens Pulver, Mark and Matt Hughes, Ben Earwood, Jermaine Andre, C.J. Fernandez and John Allesio.