Keep your team below 960 pounds, stall and you’re out, draw and you’re out, tap and you’re out.
Kazushi Sakuraba is bringing the most exciting grappling event on the planet back to Las Vegas for possibly the biggest grappling show of all-time: QUINTET Ultra.
Sakuraba has brought some of the biggest stars from the four biggest MMA promotions of all-time to square off in his four-team submission grappling competition on Thursday, December 12 at the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas, live on UFC FIGHT PASS.
With each five-man team of grapplers being kept to a 960-pound maximum weight, Team UFC, Team Strikeforce, Team PRIDE and Team WEC are slated to battle for supremacy in QUINTET’s first show in America since October 5, 2018.
To better understand the concept of QUINTET is to think of it as a reflection of Sakuraba’s career and philosophy in combat sports. From the weight limit to the necessary ground skills to the forced action, the promotion oozes Sakuraba.
“At first I didn’t want it to be a free weight where it’s whatever weight,” Sakuraba said. “Otherwise it’s going to be all big guys and I wanted the possibility of the small guy submitting the big guy which is probably one of the most exciting moments in fight sports, when you have a David vs. Goliath situation, which I’ve taken on many times. So basically, what I did was take my own weight and multiplied it by five and came up with the team weight.”
The last time QUINTET was in America, QUINTET 3 brought the fans Sakuraba’s favorite round to date when the voice of Eddie Bravo echoed throughout the arena as he shouted directions to Team 10th Planet’s freaks as they went head to head with Craig Jones, Daniel Strauss and the rest of the standouts from Team Polaris.
With every man who was supposed to win, there was a counter. No win was easy, small took on large, draws, the whole package. It was everything Sakuraba could have imagined when putting together the concept for QUINTET.
“There were so many upsets and overturns,” Sakuraba said. “You think it’s going to go this way and it went that way and it kept going back and forth, you really didn’t know who was going to win until the very last guy and there were lots of submissions, lots of different techniques, lots of different combinations of techniques. There was a flavor to each team but, at the same time, there was a different flavor to each individual’s color and style. It was very exciting to watch.”
While the stars of each team will fight tooth and nail to bring home the win for their team, the comradery of BJJ mixed with a little bit of Sakuaba’s element of fun makes QUINTET the ideal combat sport for both competitors and spectators.
“You’re in there on the mat with your opponent but you just can’t help but want to go drinking with your opponent after,” Sakuraba said. “There’s not a lot of hyperbole or anger that seems to be the mainstay of men’s sports.”
With its team grappling and a relay to eliminate every member of the opposing team, it’s already an event like none other. With rules against stalling and referees more than willing to hand out warnings, the action is always pressed. With no heel hooks, the biggest health threat is eliminated. A man weighting 130 pounds could easily find himself the last man standing on his team staring down the barrel of three men north of 200 pounds.
It’s an event that Sakuraba feels is impossible to avoid investing your heart into.
“At least give QUINTET a chance,” Sakuraba said. “Even if you don’t know grappling it’s very easy to root for a team because if one team only has one guy left, he’s going to have to beat three guys to win, and dramatic situations like those are really easy to occur. There’s just something about grappling. It should have that fun aspect of something that people would enjoy to be a part of but at the same time the concept has proved to be strong enough that the popularity is going to continue to rise.”
Sakuraba and the other stars of PRIDE FC QUINTET Ultra come at you LIVE, Thursday, December 12 at 7 p.m., ONLY on UFC FIGHT PASS!