Some people thought it would be a flop - like feeding sheep to the wolves. However, Keenan's eclectic game proved to be more than capable - and brings some important lessons to light his match against one of the biggest and best grapplers in the game today.
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Dan Faggella is a BJJ Academy Owner, No Gi Pan Am Champion at 130 pounds, and recognized expert in the area of leg locks and lightweight BJJ. Dan writes or Jiu Jitsu Magazine, Jiu Jitsu Style, MMA Sports Mag, and more – find more of his leg lock articles and resources at www.MicroBJJ.com/Keenan
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A sport with such an engrained, deep rooted history, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is always producing young, aspiring talent that are clearly destined for greatness. With gyms every which these days, it’s never been better to be a BJJ fan or just a fan of grappling sports in general given the rise in grass roots programs.
One name that many people discuss as one of the elite—for non-black belt players—is that of Keenan Cornelius. A man with countless gold medals to his name, Cornelius has been in BJJ since the age of 14. A brown belt under Lloyd Irvin, Keenan recently made a change of scenery when he decided to join up with Atos Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Known for a unique style, Keenan is always fun to watch. In fact, he recently put his skills on display against Rodolfo Vieira.
Keenan Stuck to His Game Plan in the War with Rodolfo
In every walk of life, it’s vital that you have a game plan and stick to it. If you prepare in a specific way, and then execute in the same manner, then everything should work well in theory. There’s only so much you can do in terms of the outcome.
In his match with Rodolfo Vieira, Keenan Cornelius does just this! Willing to work off of his back at any time, Cornelius pulled guard right away. He spent the entire match off of his back, making Rodolfo work for every inch.
There were various keys to this approach, some of the highlights however were as followed:
- Utilizing multiple Gi grips: While on his back, Keenan didn’t allow Rodolfo an easy way to victory. At various points in the match, you can see Keenan applying two Gi grips at once, which kept a limit on Rodolfo’s game, aggressively maintaining positions where he could hold things off and work towards an escape.
- Using His Feet As spacers: In general, your feet are extremely important while on the mat. Keenan made sure that his feet dictated where Rodolfo can and can’t go. Using his hands for Gi grips, it was as if Keenan used his hands as feet.
- Staying Active: No matter the scenario he was in, Keenan kept his cool.
Lessons in Flexibility and Guard Maintenance
Keenan Cornelius, despite losing this match, did an outstanding job of preventing Rodolfo from passing guard. No matter the spot Keenan was placed in, he made it a focal point to utilize his legs as road blocks and prevented guard passes.
While it can make a for a dull match at times, it’s a genius approach from Keenan. As the first header says; that’s his game plan, and he stuck with it!
Despite losing the match, Cornelius is going to skyrocket in BJJ soon enough. Not yet a black belt, Keenan has outstanding potential to become one of the best grapplers in the world today. I’d put good money on that.