American Keenan Cornelius, 20, was the highlight of the second day of competitions at the 2012 Pan.
A native of Hawaii, the middle weight is devoted entirely to Jiu-Jitsu at Lloyd Irvin’s school in Maryland: “I get to train six hours a day,” he said.
Such dedication is already showing results. In 2012, Cornelius conquered both weight and absolute at the European Open, in Lisbon, something he did again this Friday in Irvine.
Of the ten fights he had, Keenan submitted seven opponents, including João Miyao, in the quarterfinals of the absolute.
In a quick fight, Cornelius surprised Miyao with an armbar from the pull for the “fifty / fifty” guard.
Quiet, Keenan said he himself developed the attack: “First I used it when the opponent was pulling me, but then I started pulling guard and attack their arms.”
At the absolute final match, hard fight with Fernando Andrade (Alliance), won by an advantage after a 4-4 tie.
In the female absolute purple, victory to Maia Matalon (Gracie Elite), with Sijara Eubanks(Lloyd Irvin) in second.
The female blue belt absolute also defined its champion.
The honor went to Monique Elias (Alliance), who submitted Amanda Santana (Gracie Clearwater) on the foot lock.
The result came to celebrate the engagement of Monique with Mario Reis, whodoubles as a teacher and (now) fiance.
Monique also celebrated the career change, from fashion model to fighter: “I went to see a class of Mario and started training. When I saw him competing and winning, I was sure I wanted that for me.”
The 2012 Pan continues this Saturday, when the black belts get into action.
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Enjoy an exclusive photo gallery of the second day of Jiu-Jitsu in Irvine.
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Photos: Ivan Trindade