Jessamyn Duke

Jessamyn Duke trains with Sevak Ohanjanian at the Glendale Fighting Club on Monday, June 23, 2014. (Tim Berger / Staff Photographer / July 16, 2014)

Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke promised a more exciting fight and a better performance leading up to her Ultimate Fighting Championship bout with Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith.

At the onset of the UFC women’s bantamweight matchup, Duke seemed to be doing just that as she was far more active than her previous bout, working her jab well and establishing her range. But “The Peacemaker” proved a pit bull, nullifying Duke’s reach advantage with a stifling striking game and aggressive, fast-forward approach that saw Smith stop the Glendale Fighting Club product via technical knockout at 2 minutes 24 seconds of the first round Wednesday evening at UFC Fight Night at the Revel Casino in Atlantic City, NJ.

“The fight was going well with a good pace,” Duke told the UFC backstage. “I knew she was going to come out strong. I threw a left hook and felt a pain in my left hand. To her credit, she sensed something was wrong and took advantage of it and got the win.”

Smith used a solid overhand right to knock Duke back against the cage and followed with a barrage that included right and left hooks, upstairs and downstairs, a high kick and finally a telling left hook to the body that crumpled Duke. Smith tenaciously followed up with punches and a knee to the shoulder of the downed Duke before the referee stopped the bout.

“I feel real good. I will love New Jersey forever!” Smith (7-5-1) said after bout. “I trained with real good people and I trained really hard and it all came together tonight. I have been known for my striking and I showed what I can do and it got me the finish.”

Duke, cornered by Glendale Fighting Club’s Sevak Ohanjanian and fellow fighters and teammates Shayna Baszler and Marina Shafir, lost her second bout in a row, dropping to 3-2 with one no contest and 1-2 in the UFC. The losses were in stark contrast though, as Duke was slow in getting off during an April unanimous decision loss to Bethe Correia, while Smith and Duke were throwing in volume from the start on Wednesday.

However, Duke apparently incurred a hand injury, according to a tweet sent out by Baszler shortly after the bout.

“For everyone asking, [Jessamyn Duke] broke her hand,” Baszler wrote. “Didn’t know what to do once Leslie turned it on when she couldn’t grab and circle off.”

Duke, ranked 14th in the UFC women’s 135-pound division, established a jab early on, but Smith landed the first solid shot with a right cross 50 seconds in that colored Duke’s left eye and opened a cut. A big right landed again by Smith ahead of a left hook, but Duke was sure to her promise before the fight and stayed active. However, Smith landed again heavily against the cage. Duke landed a solid right uppercut, but it was immediately answered by a left counter from Smith, who continued to move forward. Duke later caught a Smith kick and landed some punches, but Smith continued coming and seconds later was pouring on the finishing sequence.

Smith landed an overhand right to the chin over a left from Duke that pushed the latter back to the cage. Smith then went back and forth with lefts and rights to the body, then to the head, tossed in high left kick, though most were at least blocked partially, but the left hook to the liver hit flush and buckled Duke. Smith landed a knee to the shoulder just after before the ref pulled her off.

Smith was a whirling dervish of aggression, using leg kicks, high kicks, lefts and rights and some knees. Duke was confined to mostly punches with some leg kicks and a couple high kicks, but was never able to use her muay Thai game nor did takedowns or groundwork ever come into play.

Following the loss to Correia, Duke took Wednesday’s fight with less than three months of a turnaround, while Smith was coming off a UFC debut loss to Sarah Kaufman that was also in April.

“This is epic, this is one if the biggest wins of my entire career and I'm going to remember it and carry this with me,” said Smith, a South Pasadena High product, after the bout.