Keenan Cornelius And His Ever Evolving Jiu Jitsu Game

I love watching some of the up-and-coming talent in the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  They give you something to look forward to, and you can track their progress to see how they eventually evolve as a grappler.  One man that stands out to me as the cream of the crop for the next wave of talent is Keenan Cornelius.  His game is so well rounded, he can execute from bottom guard, inverted guard, and even take your back is you aren’t careful enough.

A strategic grappler, Keenan knows when to employ specific strategies in order to win.  His unique style makes him a hard matchup for many of his counterparts, as you never know what exactly he is going to bring to the table when you step onto the mat with him.

For this particular post, I will be looking at a Keenan Cornelius No-Gi match from a couple of years ago.  What we see displayed is true skill, and exactly why Cornelius is a dangerous grappler to be on the lookout for.

Back Takes: Hooks vs. Body Triangle

We’ll pick up towards the end of the match; Keenan and his opponent briefly roll off the mat, where we see Cornelius take the back and apply a body triangle.  After a reset, we get back into the action.

For a moment, Keenan feels the need to let go of the lock, and apply his hooks.  This seems to be a bad move, as it allowed his opponent to fend off the hooks, making the back mount an ineffective position as long as it was being defended.

Realizing the situation he was in, Cornelius knew he had to change something.  He refocused his attention on obtaining the body lock, but it didn’t come easy as his opponent was able to offer some resistance.

After a brief struggle, Keenan reapplied the lock.  A much better approach, the body lock acts as a crippling vice grip on the entire torso of your opponent, where as the hooks are more so in place to make sure he isn’t going to roll out of a hold.

Once he reapplied the lock, Cornelius was able to slap on a rear naked choke, earning himself the submission victory. To read more in-depth about these techniques visit

The Cornelius X-Factor

The wildcard that Cornelius brings to the table is his incredible length.  A super-long grappler, it’s hard to get a truly dominant position on Keenan, as he can snake out of almost any position he is in.

The entire time that he is in bottom guard in this match, we see him doing an excellent job of utilizing his legs to alter his opponent’s game, not fully allowing them to find their groove.  It also helps wonderfully when he looks to obtain passes.

A dangerous, young competitor, the skills that Cornelius has displayed have solidified him as a future star in the grappling game.


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