Aljamain Sterling is building some momentum in the UFC bantamweight division.
Sterling struggled after signing a much-hyped free-agent contract in 2016, losing three of his next five fights, including a brutal knockout at the hands of Marlon Moraes.
But he has rebounded since the loss for two consecutive victories, the latest one coming Saturday night at UFC 228.
Sterling used a kneebar to defeat Cody Stamann at 3:42 of the second round of their bout at American Airlines Center and notch his first win via finish since 2015.
The opening round was a back-and-forth, tightly contested affair, with both fighters having their moments in a round in which went all over the Octagon and down to the mat and back.
In the second, though, Sterling started to pull away, and slowly overwhelmed Stamann. Stamann landed a defensive takedown, but Sterling wasted little time getting back mount, raining down punches, utilizing a full nelson, and the finally reaching underneath from the top mount and grabbing the kneebar for the submission.
After the bout, Sterling called out the top of the heap at 135 pounds.
“It’s time to show these guys who is the real top contender in this division,” Sterling (16-3) said.
Stamann (17-2) lost for the first time in the UFC and had a 10-fight win streak snapped.