Saku and Barnett’s QUINTET announces first event and teams
UFC Hall of Famer Kazushi Sakuraba and former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett are the world’s two leading exponents of catch wrestling. The pair are collaborating on a new professional grappling league, using the traditional Japanese ‘Kachi-Nuki’ team bout format. In it, the winner stays up until there is only one, and the one’s team wins.
It’s called QUINTET – Grappling Team Survival Match.
Sakuraba has announced the Haleo® Dream team, that includes himself, Josh Barnett, Daisuke Nakamura, Hideo Tokoro, and Marcos Souza.
“Thanks to our sponsors and everyone involved, we were able to establish
QUINTET,” said Saku. “I would like to contribute to the combat sports world by holding these grappling events, and help nurture and encourage amateur fighters around the world. We are planning three events this year, the first in Japan, and then England and America where grappling competitions are popular these days. We are also preparing to hold amateur events in Japan, and aim to promote the QUINTET style of ‘winner stays on’ Grappling Survival Matches. HALEO is sponsoring our team for the first event.”
“The team weight limit may be 420kg or 430kg (926lbs or 948lbs) ‒ this is yet to be decided. We want competitors to fight as close to their natural weights as possible in order to reduce extreme weight cutting issues. Yuki Nakai of the Jiu-jitsu Federation of Japan (JJFJ) is being consulted regarding the rule set. The rules are being adapted to not restrict grappling arts fighters from the likes of Jiu-jitsu, Judo, Wrestling, and Sambo.”
•Each team has 5 members
•Total team weight must not exceed 430kg
•Winner is decided only by submission
•No judge decisions
•Each match is 10 minutes long
•A competitor weight difference of 20kg or over means 5-minute matches
•Fighters must wear rashguards
•If a winner is not decided after all 5 members have fought, an extension match between each teamʼs first choice will follow. This will continue until there is a winner.
•No heel hooks or closed guard
Teams for QUINTET 1
“Yoon Dong-sik and I used to train together for a long time,” said Saku. “He has completely different grappling techniques from me, and he caught a lot of us with armbars in training. I talked to him about QUINTET and asked him to make a Judo team. The first fighter he recommended to me was Satoshi Ishii. Heʼs a Judo gold medalist, and Iʼve heard his grappling is very good. Josh Barnett has also said Ishii is very strong.”
“Jung Bu-kyung is like Yoonʼs younger brother. Heʼs an Olympic silver medalist, and heʼs fought in DREAM in Japan, and has other MMA fight experience. His armbars are also very good.”
“Sambo has some great submissions, so Iʼm looking forward to facing them. I asked Donatas, a promoter from a European event called Bushido to gather a Sambo team, and heʼs put together fighters from Lithuania and Ukraine.”
“Teodoras Aukstuolis, who I remember fought well in RIZIN, is a Combat Sambo champion in Lithuania. Marius Zaromskis, who I fought when my ear ripped off – Iʼm guessing thatʼs why Donatas chose him! ‒ is a striker. I mentioned that to Donatas, but he said his grappling is good, so no problem. Iʼm looking forward to it.”
“I donʼt have much information on the other three members, so their style is a mystery to me at the moment, however, Ukrainian Mykyta Mikhno is a European Combat Sambo champion and Sergey Grechko is a world Sambo gold medalist.”
“A long time ago, a Soviet team called “Red Bull Army” fought in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and I remember I was surprised to see such great Sambo fighters. Iʼm hoping to see good moves and techniques from the Sambo competitors in QUINTET too.”
“Polaris in the U.K. has been involved with QUINTET from the start, and they are sending some top BJJ guys to join us. Gregor Gracie is representing his family. Heʼs a coach at the Renzo Gracie gym in New York. He wrestled in high school, and was national champion, so heʼs a high-level competitor. It seems my fight with the Gracies is never ending! Charles Negromonte is a head coach at Roger Gracieʼs gym, and a sparring partner of Rogerʼs. Iʼve heard his fight style is very powerful and dynamic. Australian Craig Jones is a rising star in the BJJ world who made himself noticed last year. He submitted two ADCC legends last year, and the jiu-jitsu world has its eyes
on him. British Dan Strauss has fought in Polaris, and has a black belt under Roger Gracie, and from what Iʼve seen, his character stands out. Iʼm told by Matt from Polaris that heʼs a fan of mine and wears my gear in training!”
“We will announce all remaining members once set.”
Broadcast free of charge in Japan on Ameba TV; live international broadcast will be announced at a later date.
QUINTET 1 ‒ Grappling Team Survival Match ‒ April 11, 2018
Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall
Sumida, Tokyo, Japan
17:30 (open); 18:30 (start)
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