Keenan Cornelius vs. Sinistro: Match Breakdown

Match Breakdown: Kennan Cornelius vs. Sinistro

KeenanSinistroDan “Micro” Faggella is a No-Gi Gold Medal Pan Am Champion and a recognized Expert Analyst in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World.  Dan has produced over a dozen Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructional DVD courses and the author of multiple books on Skill Development & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Technique.  His most recent research report titled “Keenan Cornelius Game Analysis” is now available at:


I’ve been on an absolute tear as of late when it comes to watching Kennan Cornelius matches on YouTube. A fantastic competitor, I love to watch and analyze the game of Cornelius because it is just so intriguing and unique.

Always finding himself in awkward positions, it never seems to phase the brown belt, as he always finds his way out of the sketchy spots.

Not only does he do a good job of maneuvering his way out of the positions, but he is able to turn it into a more desirable spot for him to be in, and he is able to dictate the match from there. This is a stamp of a truly talented grappler. He has the knowhow to remain calm and take a bad situation, and turn it into a fantastic spot to be in. Kennan Cornelius is for real!



A Game of Chess: The Human Leg Edition

The match starts up from a difficult position for Kennan to be in. Sinistro is working for a dominant position, and is beginning to isolate the feet of Cornelius. Somehow, Kennan is able to worm his way out of it, and ends up in a modified 50/50 guard.

This begins a nice back-and-forth between Cornelius and Sinistro as they wage battle with their legs. Knowing it’s a game of chances; neither man seemed too worried about getting caught. Despite that, Kennan did look as if he was setting up a heel hook at one point in time.

Even when he was in a rough spot, the young brown belt kept a calm head and fought fire-with-fire. Using his legs to push away his opponent, Cornelius was able to open a small window to escape and obtain back mount.

This was a nice transition, as it put Sinistro in a tough spot and allowed Cornelius to get a much more desirable position.

To see some sneak preview videos of Keenan’s concepts and BJJ game you can check it out here.

Mental Focus & Discipline

After the brief chess match, Kennan was able to obtain a pretty firm back mount. It seemed he wanted to go for the submission right off of the bat, but when it seemed as if Sinistro was not going to budge, Cornelius settled in.

After applying a nice body lock—depleting the oxygen and energy of Sinistro—Cornelius was able to utilize a beautiful tactic. For minutes—seemingly hours, for Sinistro—Cornelius waited for his moment.

This takes a lot of mental focus from Cornelius. He stayed in a position, which to the untrained eye seemed rather ‘dull, and didn’t give up on it. He knew that he had the better position, and would not allow himself to give it up.

The mental fortitude paid off; as he would eventually go on to win the match via submission from back mount. This goes to show you that if you stick with it, you can win a match from any position!

Dan Faggella


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