Keenan Cornelius recently fought against a trying wave of the world’s most capable competitors, winning the $10,000 prize at the Marianas Open Brazilian JJ tournament yesterday. This was the fast paced tournament of 2015, taking place at the renowned Father Duenas Memorial School Phoenix Center. The fighter, Cornelius of Atos Gym in California, was able to defeat Mike Fowler in the black belt championship through a powerful submission. Eric Sian would go on to win the brown belt absolute championship, winning $1,000.
When Cornelius fought and defeated Lucas Leite and Marcos de Souza towards the championship match, he said that he was familiar with their style. These were opponents he had trained with and competed against for a while. But while he was familiar with these fighters, he did not give much thought to his decision to come to Guam in the first place. He said that the inspiration to come and compete had only happened during the week of the event. He was swayed by a teammate, and has said that it was a fast decision to get the prize money. Other black belt entries, such as Terrence Aflague and Luis Blanco, did not make it as far, as they were beaten by Leite and Fowler, respectively.
For Blanco, it was his first time competing in the tournament’s black belt division. This was something that the tournament director had hoped would happen when he created the ten thousand dollar prize. He wanted the world to come to Guam, and for skilled fighters from all over the world to be able to compete against each other, bringing attention to the area. He said he had been happy to create such an opportunity for so many skilled fighters.
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