Alexander Yakovlev made a name for himself last year with a decision over former UFC title contender Gray Maynard.
Saturday night at UFC on FOX 18, he followed that performance up by finishing George Sullivan in the first round of their prelim bout.
Yakovlev (23-6-1) has now won five of his last seven, losing only via decision to Demian Maia and Nico Musoke.
“My team has been drilling this a lot. Early on I saw I could do this,” Yakovlev said. “My coach told me to counter and it worked. You know, when I hit him I wasn’t sure the fight was over. That’s why I followed up. If I knew he was out I would not have followed up. I had to keep going until the referee stopped it.
“I worked hard in the gym. When you work hard, it pays off. Hard work is all it is.”
Sullivan (17-5) lost for the second time in three fights. He was submitted by Tim Means last year before rebounding a decision vs. Dominic Waters.
“I don’t even know what caught me,” Sullivan said. “I don’t even remember. I’ve never even been knocked down before. I remember circling him a little and that’s it.”