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Shane Young (Ngāti Kahungunu) has lost his first UFC bout in almost two years, beaten by American newcomer Blake Bilder at UFC 284 in Perth, Western Australia.
Walking out to Tiki Taane’s Tangaroa and announced with a new nickname, Shane 'Maraenui' Young, he was laser focused and full of energy.
Young controlled the centre in the opening round, working off the jab until Bilder - known for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - took him to the ground after the third minute. The Kiwi ended the first round back on his feet and composed, heading back to his corner and coach Eugene Bareman.
The second round was more of the same minus takedowns, but in the third round the crowd energised the fighters with Young and Bilder going full throttle in a striking slugfest in the final two minutes.
In the end, the judges awarded the fight to Bilder giving him his first UFC win and ensuring he remains undefeated in his professional career.
Young is now 2-4 in the UFC.
Still to come representing New Zealand is heavyweight Justin Tafa.
The UFC 284 card is headlined by featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski of Australia who is chasing the lightweight title defended by Russia's Islam Makhachev.