Alan Jouban is starting his 2018 the right way. Despite being paired against one of his good friends in MMA on Saturday night at UFC on Fox Orlando in Ben Saunders, Jouban put on a class in striking in the preliminary card. Jouban (16-6) was coming off consecutive stoppages to Niko Price and Gunnar Nelson and needing a fresh start to get things going in the right direction.

A violent knockout is typically a good remedy.

Jouban and Saunders traded back and forth throughout the first round, at one point trading elbows to the chin while still standing. After a set of leg kicks wobbled both fighters, Jouban set up his knockout punch by knocking Saunders off balance before the finish.

"I wanted to visualize that feeling of a knockout that feeling of victory it's so rewarding but I wanted to stay focused so I wouldn't let me guard down," Jouban said. "I wanted it to be the perfect night as I said on the mic, tonight is my anniversary, and I wanted to celebrate afterwards. It's the first time my son has seen me fight in person. I just wanted this feeling to take it all in. I felt like an animal out there."

Jouban and Saunders have been good friends since getting into the sport and shared a touching moment together after the fight where Jouban told Saunders multiple times how much he loved him.

"I just wanted to get the fight started and felt fearless around him," Jouban said. "It was amazing. I don't like to fight friends but I have so much respect for him."

The powerful welterweight is hoping to fight four times this year, and is certainly off to the kind of start that will draw more attention.