Leg kicks kept his opponent from closing the distance. Single-leg takedowns prevented his opponent from striking. A smothering clinch and grappling got his opponent from doing anything significant.
Yes, Uniondale's Aljamain Sterling performed perfectly in his second UFC bout, beating Hugo Viana by technical knockout at UFC Fight Night in Atlantic City on Wednesday night.
Latest MMA stories
Sterling (10-0, 2-0 UFC) controlled Viana the entire fight, ending it with a series of strikes from the mount position with 1:10 left in the third round.
"My first fight in here, I didn't really think I showed what I could really do," said Sterling, a bantamweight. "I know I got a lot more in the tool bag."
Sterling, 24, made his UFC debut last February with a unanimous decision win over Cody Gibson. He looked more refined and controlled Wednesday night as he neutralized the striking skills of Viana (8-2, 3-2). Sterling was successful on 80 percent of his takedowns. Most were single-leg takedowns.
Those easily led to dominant positions for Sterling, who didn't get off much ground and pound until the final round. In the sequence that finished the fight, Sterling went from throwing a few blows to the midsection to full mount and unloading with elbows, punches and backfists until the referee stopped the bout.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself to come out here and do good things," Sterling said.
On this night, he did quite a few of them.