2014 was a big year for Valor Fights and they showcased some great fights with some great competitors. With all the fights that went down, it's hard to narrow it down to six amateur fights that stand out, but we try our best in this Valor Spotlight.
Kyle Jessee vs. Michael Snapp, Valor 15
Both of these fighters were at the top of their game, and with Jessee losing the first matchup at an Apex show just a couple of months prior this made for a great storyline. Even though this fight ended in controversy, these competitors put it on the line in a three round war. The fight ended in a draw that left some people scratching their heads, but nonetheless was a great fight and was able to make the cut.
Amy Coleman vs. Evva Johnson, Volunteer Brawl
Next, what would our top fights be if we didn't have women on it. Women's MMA has blown up over the past year, and generally when there is a WMMA fight on the card, it usually steals the show. With that being said, this fight caught my eye. These two met in the cage to battle for the Bantamweight Tennessee State Title, and it did not disappoint. Coleman was the favorite coming into the fight, but Johnson shocked us all when she was able to get the submission victory in the second round of the fight.
Ashley Samples vs. Katelyn Dykas, Valor 15
Samples and Dykas took the stage at Valor 15 and put on show, having a three round war. Samples has made a name for herself with her stand up, but Dykas has some good standup herself. Dykas was able to rock Samples in the second round with a spinning back fist, but Samples was able to fight through it, and get a good exchange in the third round. It was not enough to get the win in the judges' eyes, but both of these women showed their heart and fighting will in this fight. Dykas was able to get the split decision win when it was all said and done.
Erik Rojo vs. Buck Yates, Valor 17
The final Valor event of 2014 produced one of the best amateur fights I saw all year. Rojo has looked good every time out, and while Yates clearly won this fight, this is one case where a unanimous decision doesn't reflect how close or entertaining the fight was. Rojo showed some phenomenal toughness, taking a head kick flush without batting an eye. Yates looked sharp again and Rojo came out firing in the third looking for the stoppage victory. These two fighters let everything go in one of my favorite fights since MMA-Insider was founded.
Kyle Jones vs. Eli-John Kaindu, 3FC 21
A highly entertaing battle for the 3FC and state titles in the lightweight division. At the time, Jones was undefeated and had looked very sharp in the 155 ranks. Kaindu moved up a weight class and took this fight on very short notice but he gave Jones all he could handle. The fight went the distance but both guys came close to ending it on multiple occasions, most notably when Jones sank an RNC on Kaindu. An impressive performance by Kaindu and a highly entertaining fight put on by both men.
Shane Wicks vs. Michael Snapp, Apex 3
Snapp makes my list as well, after a very entertaining heavyweight title fight between himself and the rookie Wicks. This was the first fight for Wicks since he switched gyms to Stryker, and while Snapp had been a grinder in the previous few fights relying on the clinch and cage control, Wicks and he stayed on the feet throwing strikes for the vast majority of this contest. The momentum seesawed back and forth several times with neither fighter capable of finishing the other. This matchup defused the notion that heavyweight fights lack excitement.
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