Besides using Haki, some elements seem weak or inferior to other elements, as shown when Ace fought against Smoker and when Ace fought against Akainu.
When Ace fought against Smoker
When Ace fought against Akainu
This fact is also mentioned on One Piece Wikia:
A Devil Fruit user who normally dominates all other powers can sometimes be brought down by a power considered "weak" in comparison; one such example is the Gomu Gomu no Mi unexpectedly withstanding the Goro Goro no Mi's powers, the Doru Doru no Mi unexpectedly holding back the Doku Doku no Mi's powers and Akainu's Magu Magu no Mi dealing a fatal blow to Ace despite his Mera Mera no Mi due to an order of superiority. Another surprise also came when the Mera Mera no Mi clashed against the Moku Moku no Mi, equalizing with each other, and then later against the Hie Hie no Mi with the same results.