Kazushi Sakuraba Debuts Innovative Team Grappling Event

By Roy Billington Apr 13, 2018


A new innovative grappling competition launched in Japan this week headed by Pride Fighting Championships legend Kazushi Sakuraba.

“Quintet” featured 5-on-5 team grappling, with each combatant staying on the mat if victorious via submission, or in the case of a draw, both combatants were removed from the match. This lead to high-paced action throughout, with all athletes eager to secure a submission. In the opening match, Sakuraba’s “Haleo” team was pitted against a team of elite judokas. From the opening round, it was clear the teams were quite evenly matched, but Haleo did enough to end up victorious. In an act of utter brilliance, mixed martial arts veteran Hideo Tokoro scored the submission of the night with a slick armbar from an Imanari roll within seconds of his match with Hyun Jun Kim. In the other semifinal, a sambo dream team were pitted against a team of Polaris Pro fighters, which contained their middleweight champion, Craig Jones.

Jones got the action started with a slick kneebar before being eliminated by drawing his next match. Bellator MMA and Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Marcin Held cleaned up by eliminating the rest of the Sambo team with kneebar variations.

In the final, the Polaris pro team showed their dominance once more with Dan Strauss starring. Strauss scored two ingenious chokes before drawing with Sakuraba. Jones would go on to eliminate Haleo’s final athlete with yet another kneebar.

Quintet Results:

Daisuke Nakamura [Haleo] vs Michihiro Omigawa [Judo] – draw
Kazushi Sakuraba [Haleo] vs Shutaro Debana [Judo] – draw Hideo Tokoro [Haleo] vs Hyun Jun Kim [Judo] – Tokoro by armbar
Hideo Tokoro [Haleo] vs Dong Sik Yoon [Judo] – Yoon by ezekiel choke
Marcos de Souza [Haleo] vs Dong Sik Yoon [Judo] – Souza by armbar
Marcos de Souza [Haleo] vs Satoshi Ishii [Judo] – draw
Craig Jones [Polaris] vs Mindaugas Verzbickas [Sambo] – Jones kneebar
Craig Jones [Polaris] vs Sergei Grecicho [Sambo] – draw
Marcin Held [Polaris] vs Viktor Tomasevic [Sambo] – Held kneebar
Marcin Held [Polaris] vs Teodoras Aukstuolis [Sambo] – Held kneebar/dogbar
Marcin Held [Polaris] vs Marius Zaromskis [Sambo] – draw
Gregor Gracie [Polaris] vs Josh Barnett [Haleo] – draw
Dan Strauss [Polaris] vs Daisuke Nakamura [Haleo] – Straus rear-naked choke
Dan Strauss [Polaris] vs Hideo Tokoro [Haleo] – Strauss mounted guillotine
Dan Strauss [Polaris] vs Kazushi Sakuraba [Haleo] – draw
Caol Uno [Polaris] vs Marcos Souza [Haleo] – Souza by armbar
Craig Jones [Polaris] vs Marcos Souza [Haleo] – Kneebar

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