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Slug it out: Gage Saunders prevails as Fusion Fight League hosts first event of 2024 in Missoula

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Posted at 5:16 PM, Mar 17, 2024

MISSOULA — Saturday night fights got underway in Missoula at the Adams Center as Montana regional mixed martial arts promotion Fusion Fight League hosted its first event of 2024.

The event was headlined by Bozeman's Gage Saunders, the reigning FFL welterweight (170 pounds) champion, who was defending his title against Missoula's Lloyd Mix, a long-time staple and pioneer of the sport in Montana who was making his return to MMA for the first time in almost eight years.

PHOTOS: FUSION FIGHT LEAGUE HOSTS MMA EVENT IN MISSOULA

After a back-and-forth slugfest between the two, Saunders retained his title with a unanimous decision victory over Mix.

Saunders improved to 13-5 as a pro MMA fighter while Mix fell to 15-8 in his career. The two shared a lot of mutual respect for one another, as Saunders credited Mix as an athlete who inspired him when he was growing up watching his fights.

Their fight was the only pro bout on the card that featured a number of fighters from around Montana.

Missoula's Bodyn Graham (2-0) defeated Polson's Jacob Gatch (0-1) by unanimous decision in an amateur lightweight (155 pounds) bout.

Polson's Darren Houle (1-0) defeated Great Falls' Trent Edwards (0-2) by submission with a head and arm choke in the third round of an amateur lightweight fight.

In between the MMA fights, in a boxing match, Missoula's Kayden Mead (1-0) defeated Missoula's Jesse Henderson (1-1) by unanimous decision at 165 pounds. A pair of grappling matches were also held before a short intermission.

Missoula's Holden Kettenring (3-2) defeated Tyler Burton (1-2) of Boise, Idaho by unanimous decision in a lightweight fight.

Hamilton's Michael Kampel (2-1) defeated Missoula's Anthony Juckes (1-1) by submission with a triangle choke in the first round of a lightweight fight.

Zechariah Bade (4-0) of Spokane, Washington, defeated Missoula's Cameron Mason (2-2) by unanimous decision in an amateur flyweight (125 pounds) bout.