For a while there, I did my best to stay on top of the grappling competition scene. The quicker went on to develop, the less I could keep up. The first to go were Gi events, particularly the standard format ones like Mundials or Pans. My focus went mostly towards super fights and submission only No-Gi events. At first, it was easy, just keeping an eye out for EBI, Polaris and maybe one or two new ones. Then, however, No-Gi sub only events boomed. From Submission Underground, through Combat Jiu-Jitsu all the way to team grappling events, the landscape changed forever. Moreover, it is really difficult to see each and every one of these highly exciting events. And now, it seems, Quintet Ultra is going to make yet another change, this time by turning to the past.
Quintet was the spark that caused a whole new breed of events to start popping up. To use casual grappling fans, it provides a lot more entertainment in a really unusual fashion. For professional BJJ athletes, it offers more options to get paid and improve. Everyone wins. Things like KInektic or Fight2Win’s Subversiv are now huge, offering a different type of grappling event. Even SUG can feature here, with the tag-team ruleset. All these rulesets and inclusion of teams provide a much-needed breath of fresh air. And now, the event that started it all is back after a hiatus, and back with a bang. Quintet Ultra is promising to be something entirely different, yet again!
Team Grappling Rising Fast
The very first time I heard of a team grappling championship I was beyond skeptical. I thought it will be a complete failure like those Russian 5vs. 5 MMA maulings. As it turns out, we were in luck that it was Japan where it all started. IN fact, the original Quintet featured some old-school Japanese wrestling rules, providing it with the perfect platform. It brought us a ruleset fit to support a 5 vs. 5 grappling system.
Form there on, things took off like wildfire. Nowadays there are a bunch of team vs team grappling events, most of them sticking to 5 grapplers per team. However, the rules usually differ a lot between them, as does the choice of athletes. A team grappling ruleset actually has a lot to take into account. Some simply try to go for the entertainment factor above all, as Quintet does. Others, like Kinetic, actually try to mix everything up, their teams include 4 male grapplers of different weight classes and one female grappler. That said, it can easily turn into a one mans show, with a single grappler beating an entire opposing team, just like Lachlan Giles did.
5 vs. 5 grappling events ow seem to be popping all over the place. The range to include teams in all possible shapes and sizes, from belt level, to completely mixed ones. Lot’s of academies even do their own, indoors 5 vs. 5 tournaments just for the fun of it. However, that’s far from the end of it. The space for innovation within this concept is huge, and Sakuraba, the man behind Quintet knows all about it. And he is now back with yet another innovation, in the form of Quintet Ultra, the event that’ll see UFC and Pride stars collide like never before!
The Story OF Quintet Grappling Championship
Before we take a look at the Quintet Ultra event that’s upcoming let’s talk about the original QUitnet for just a little bit. Rooted in traditional Japanese wrestling, Quintet came out as a complete surprise in the grappling world. The first-ever event featured a Josh Barnett led team, founder Skaruaba led one and a Polaris and Sambo teams. The Polaris team ended up winning the inaugural event, thanks to Craig Jones, Daniel Strauss, Gregor Gracie, Charles Negromonte and Caol Uno.
What really caught the attention of people was the ruleset, though. The whole team vs team aspect was something never before seen, but the rules were also crazy. Basically, people on each team are of different weights. When they face a heavier opponent, th match lasts five minutes, and when they’re close in weight, it goes on for 8. The order of appearance also can not be changed once it is determined. Heel hooks are illegal, but, strangely enough, so is the closed guard. In fact, even staying in back control or mount is seen as stalling and there are frequent stand-ups.
SO far, al lof Quintet’s editions were No-Gi events. Moreover, the only way to win is via submission, as there are no points. In the second edition, we saw the 10th PLanet team as the winner and it really kicked off from there. However, there hasn’t been a new event in a while. It seems Sakuraba did not abandon the concept but was actually trying to take it to the next level. Wil Quintet Ultra manages to do that? On paper, it certainly looks like it.
The Next Step: Quintet Ultra
What exactly is Quintet Ultra? Well, it is bound the be the edition of the tournament with the most legendary names in one place. Sakuraba has really gone to great lengths to secure such an entertaining showdown. Namely, the teams involved this time will consist of both retired and active MMA fighters. the teams, however, is where the potential barnburner is. The four teams in question are team UFC, Team Pride, Team Strikeforce, and Team WEC. Sakuraba got this spot on!
The event is set to take place in December, leading up to the last UFC card of the year UFC 245. The members of the five-man teams are being kept a secret, though, with only two people per team known at this point. IF those are anything to judge by though, we’ll have a cracker of an event. Team UFC’s captain will be Anthony Rumble Johnson, with Sean O’Malley a member. Sakuraba will lead team PRIDE, with Takanori Gomi as support. The Strikeforce captain will be Gilbert Melendez, with his close friend Jake Shields joining in. Finally, Chad Mendes and Glover Teixeira are the only two known members of team WEC so far. But that’s not all.
The real firecracker of a match here comes with a very unusual and potentially awesome matchup in the form of a super fight. Namely, the “King” and current double ADCC champ Gordon Ryan is set to face Aleksei Oleinik. In case you need a reminder, that’s the man that has been pulling off Ezekiel chokes from the bottom of the mount in the UFC. On multiple occasions. Even now, QUintet Ultra is something I’m really excited about. Wait until all the team members get announced!
We have to hand it to Skauraba for always trying to keep things entertaining! He is clearly not going to settle with just the “basic” Quintet format, although it proved to be highly successful. I love the fact that the brings innovation and some of the highest level grapplers into the mix! It seems we’ll finally get answers to question about who would win in a grappling match between MMA legends of all promotions. Imagine if Fedor makes an appearance in one of the teams…