Match Breakdown: Kennan Cornelius vs. Weam Motei

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

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As an avid fan of Kennan Cornelius, I’m continuously singing his praises for his unique; “out of the box” defensive approach that gives so many grapplers fits.  I like to say he gets folded up like a lawn chair, but still makes it extremely difficult for someone to pass his guard. Still after the noise in the BJJ world about his move to a new BJJ team, his success rate continues as usual and there’s always something new he brings to the table.

Normally, I’d continue this trend and rave about the flawless tactical preparation he normally presents.  However, this time around, I’m flipping the script!  Just days ago, Cornelius competed out in Abu Dhabi and one of his matches, against Weam Motei, has already found its way to YouTube.

A change of pace given his usual style, this match is a breath of fresh air for those out there that like to follow and watch Kennan Cornelius compete.  In this, we don’t get to see his famed defense, but rather an intense, relentless offensive onslaught.

Acting As If He Is A Human Backpack

Keenan after another series of big wins. Can he be stopped at brown belt - EVER?

Keenan after another series of big wins. Can he be stopped at brown belt – EVER?

One thing that caught my eye was that Kennan refused to pull guard right off the bat.  Notorious for doing so, Kennan Cornelius decided to overwhelm Weam Motei from the get go.

A failed takedown from Motei opened the door for Cornelius to mount an offensive attack that kept Motei reeling from the start-to-finish.  It seemed as if Weam had a solid chance at applying a leg lock; however Kennan kept his cool and made sure nothing came from it.

The pressure in which Kennan Cornelius applied was the deciding factor for this match.  A relentless top game opened up some doors that ultimately led to a Cornelius victory.  Seemingly in the flip of a switch, Kennan was able to go from being very top-heavy, not allowing Motei to offer any defense, to flowing like water around the mat.

Making it looking effortless, Cornelius began floating around Motei in flawless transitions that will be sure to make a highlight reel or two.  After showing off his outstanding skills, Cornelius ended up in a beautiful back mount, making sure Motei could not shake him.

Changing The Game Plan and Staying Fresh

After a few minutes of being the heaviest back pack Weam Motei has ever worn, Cornelius decided to end the match and earn the submission victory.

What made this match so much fun to watch was that Kennan Cornelius—a man with a notorious approach—decided to go another route.  As I previously stated, he strayed from pulling guard and focused on his offensive attack.

Whether if this was his game or not at the start, Kennan Cornelius did a fantastic job of executing it while going at full speed on the mat. The recent write-up on some of the keys to his game was complete on Science of Skill late last week – and it’s worth checking out here:

A defensive mastermind decided to flash some offensive brilliance.  Couple this display of skill with the fact that he is still young, and only a BROWN BELT, goes to show just how good Kennan Cornelius is, and can be.


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