Brandon Mills had high hopes for his first MMA bout, but fate had other plans.
Mills (0-1), the son of UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes, made his debut on Saturday at Caged Aggression 36 in Davenport, Iowa. He ended up losing a hard-fought and competitive unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-26) to Pura Vida BJJ’s Jordan Clark (3-1).
The fight served as the co-main event for an event featuring Hughes’ former coach Pat Miletich, who made a return at 55 years old to face former UFC fighter Mike Jackson in a politically-charged matchup.
With a corner consisting of Hughes and former Strikeforce champion “King Mo” Muhammed Lawal, Mills showcased his grappling skills. However, Clark had answers for much of what the 21-year-old American Top Team prospect threw at him.
Mills started strong with an early takedown, but Clark’s jiu-jitsu expertise became evident throughout the fight, especially in Round 1. Although Mills connected with a powerful spinning wheel kick in Round 2, Clark managed to neutralize the attack with a quick clinch, takedown, and eventual back-take. Clark even mounted Mills at one point.
In Round 3, Mills relied heavily on his wrestling abilities. The two fighters traded advantageous positions on the mat for the entire round, but neither found themselves in significant danger.
When the judges’ decision was announced, both fighters appeared confident but visibly puzzled by the 30-26 scorecard. After Clark was declared the winner, the two competitors shook hands, displaying mutual respect.
Prior to his professional debut, Mills had a successful amateur career, going 4-0 with three submission victories. Finding suitable opponents had been a challenge, but Mills explained to MMA Junkie that his father had never pressured him into fighting. Despite not fully enjoying the decision, Hughes remained supportive and proud of his son’s accomplishments.
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