TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) first Taiwanese fighter, Rocky Lee on Saturday, April 11 lost his UFC debut to fellow debutant Taylor Lapilus of France during the opening match of UFC Fight Night 64.
Following in the footsteps of Kaohsiung-born American fighter Andy Wang, Lee is the second Taiwan-born fighter and the first Republic of China citizen to be signed to the UFC. The organisation is also arguably the world's biggest and most prestigious international mixed martial arts (MMA) group, housing martial arts superstars such as the likes of Anderson Silva, Ronda Rousey and hall-of-fame member Randy Couture.
Lee was selected for his UFC debut, which took place at the Krakow Arena in Krakow, Poland, after becoming a semifinalist on "The Ultimate Fighter: China," a reality television show produced by UFC in which fighters are put under one roof to train with esteemed coaches and fighters while having to fight one another.
The Taiwan-born fighter received the opportunity that granted him an international contract after securing a 3 wins and no losses career record since his debut in MMA in 2011. His first bout on UFC marked Lee's first career defeat.
However, the 27-year-old featherweight fighter did not go down without a fight. Within seconds after the bell rung, Lee shot for a takedown. Though Lee tried to give Lapilus a run for his money during the entire match, the French fighter had the upper hand in the majority of the 3-round bout, going as far as giving Lee a bloody face during the second round of the fight.
Though Lee was taken down by Lapilus who looked for submission opportunities the first chance he got, Lee was able to get back on his feet every time to complete the entirety of his debut bout. Unfortunately, the Taiwanese fighter was defeated by unanimous decision of the judges.
According to sports writer Matt Erickson from American daily newspaper USA Today, Lee gave the following statement during a post-fight interview: "I'm feeling annoyed that I lost the fight. But now it's just back to training so that I can improve. He was tough -- he was a better fighter. But now I will go back to training and move forward."