A pair of UFC women’s bantamweight strikers matched up on the prelims as Leslie Smith (6-5) takes on Jessamyn Duke (3-1, 1 NC).
The Cesar Gracie trained Leslie “The Peacemaker” Smith makes her 2nd appearance in the UFC, this time on a full fight camp—following her late replacement loss against Sarah Kaufman in her UFC debut at the TUF Nations finale.
Training partner of UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, Jessamyn “The Gun” Duke is 1-1 inside the UFC, most recently coming off a unanimous decision loss to Bethe orreia at UFC 172.
Leslie Smith showed patience and controlled aggression, able to overcome the huge reach advantage of Duke and score an ultra impressive first round TKO.
The 5’11” Duke holds a 7-inch reach advantage over her opponent, and began utilizing it off the bat, landing jabs and leg kicks. The always tough and aggressive Leslie Smith did just that, pushing forward and throwing combinations to back up the taller Duke. Smith landed several right and left hooks at the end of her combinations, seemingly getting inside the reach of Duke easily. Duke stuck to her game plan, but Smith’s aggression got her against the fence with a right hook–left headkick and unloaded with a flurry of combinations to the body and head of Duke.
The multiple body shots to the liver eventually forced Jessamyn Duke to crumble to the mat and led to Leslie Smith scoring the first round TKO. And her first UFC victory, improving to 7-5 overall.
Leslie Smith def. Jessamyn Duke via TKO (body shots)–Round 1, 2:24
“It feels so good, I love New Jersey for the rest of my life now,” Smith said post-fight. “That’s what I was going for, I trained to do it and I trained with great people.”
“I’ve been working on my patience, my coaches have been polishing it up, to come in here like a professional UFC fighter.”—“This is epic, this is one of the biggest wins of my career, maybe the biggest.”
Full results of UFC Fight Night 45: Cerrone vs Miller can be found here.