Carlos Ulberg has sent a clear message to the UFC light heavyweight division – the Black Jag packs a punch.

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The Kiwi UFC star was back in action for the first time in 2023 on Sunday morning and needed just over two minutes to get the job done against Ukrainian Ihor Potieria in North Carolina.

Carlos UlbergIt was a left hook that did the damage for Ulberg, landing it on the counter after avoiding a right hand from Potieria. That sent the Potieria stumbling to the canvas and Ulberg swarmed. It was an unusual stoppage, however, as Ulberg appeared to call the fight before the referee – stepping away from his opponent only for the referee to step in and wave it off as he turned around to finish the job at the instruction of his corner.

Asked about the stoppage in his post-fight interview, Ulberg said there was no question the fight was over when he stopped his attack.

“I knew. I saw his head go down, his eyes roll back, I knew he was done. That’s the bottom line, that’s the way we go; hit and not get hit. That’s the name of the game,” Ulberg said.

Coming into the fight on a three-fight winning streak, with his two most recent wins being by first-round knockout, Ulberg was riding plenty of momentum. That momentum only grew in his first fight for 2023.

The finish came in a familiar fashion, too. Of his three first-round knockout wins in the UFC, all three finishing sequences have been set up by a left hook thrown on the counter.

The win sees the 32-year-old improve to 4-1 since making his UFC debut in 2021 and likely sets him up for a shot at a top-15 ranked opponent in the near future.

Carlos UlbergUlberg had made clear he was a striker with plenty of power in his recent bouts, and Potieria looked to test him from the outset, shooting for a takedown as soon as the fight started.

That attempt was easily thwarted, and Ulberg showed a patient approach in picking his shots. Potieria was looking to pressure Ulberg up and give him little room to work in, but it didn’t worry the Kiwi who test his opponent with strong kicks to the head and looked to target the legs when the opportunity was there.

But it was again the left hand that did the job for Ulberg, and he ultimately needed just 13 strikes throughout the fight.

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