It may not have been a pretty way to end what was an overall fantastic night of grappling, but Team UFC prevailed in the Quintet Ultra event at Red Rock Resort Casino in Las Vegas on Thursday night.
Comprised of current Ultimate Fighting Championship fighters Sean O'Malley, Anthony Johnson, Clay Guida, Gilbert Burns and team captain, Anthony Smith Team UFC conquered Team Pride in the semifinals before besting Team Strikeforce to become the event’s champions. Team WEC was the other five-man squad and aside from the finals; the evening was loaded with submissions.
O’Malley started off the tournament by vanquishing former Pride lightweight champ and all-time great Japanese fighter Takanori Gomi. O’Malley forced “The Fireball Kid’ to tap due to a guillotine at 2:47 of their match. O’Malley’s luck ran out quickly in the second match, though, as Cuban Olympian Hector Lombard took him out in just 46 seconds from a straight ankle lock. From there, Lombard was eliminated along with “Rumble” Johnson when the two fought to a draw. Gregor Gracie got things going for Pride when he tapped out Guida via armbar at the 2:35 mark, but the Brazilian was eliminated with “Lionheart” due to a draw. Burns then submitted Yves Edwards with a rear-naked choke at 5:03 and then was eliminated with promotion founder and legend Kazushi Sakuraba when they also battled to a draw. At the conclusion, the judges sided with Team UFC for the win and entry into the finals against Team Strikeforce.
The finals weren’t nearly as exciting, however, as every single matchup wound up going the distance, with each fighter being eliminated. Guida went the full four minutes with Renato Sobral to open the bracket; “Rumble” did the same with Muhammad Lawal; O’Malley drew with Gilbert Melendez; Smith followed suit with Gesias Cavalcante; and Burns went all the way with Jake Shields.
The UFC was given the win because they collectively had one less shido in the final five bouts, thus declaring them the winning team.
Team Strikeforce made it to the finals by taking out Team WEC. Cavalcante battled to a draw with Chad Mendes in the opening bout. Shields began by subbing Mark Munoz with a mounted arm-triangle choke at 4:48 of the round. From there, Shields went on a tear by taking out Cub Swanson due a knee injury when Swanson tried escaping a leg lock at the 5:20 mark. Next up, Shields, exhausted, lasted the full eight minutes with Glover Teixeira, eliminating both. James Krause quickly submitted Lawal with a guillotine, though “King Mo” tried to claim that he didn’t tap out. Krause was then booted out of the tourney with Melendez when they fought to a draw. Team Strikeforce was already ahead and clinched, so Sobral didn’t need to compete in the opening round.
Quintet “Ultra” also had three non-team super fights. Australia’s Craig Jones came, saw and conquered longtime veteran Fredson Paixao and he made it look shockingly easy. Jones lured the Brazilian grappler into his guard and quickly took Paixao’s back. From there, he worked a body triangle and then applied a rear-naked choke. Once he had it sunk -- more across the jaw than anything -- Jones squeezed and forced the tap. No official time was given of the submission.
Rising jiu-jitsu player Danielle Kelly blew through UFC fighter Cynthia Calvillo when she rolled her foe into a brutal ankle lock in just 17 seconds. Kelly dropped down and tried pulling guard immediately, but Calvillo couldn’t stay away and bowed out almost as soon as the duel began.
Finally, Gordon Ryan lived up to his nickname by dismantling UFC light heavyweight contender Alexey Oleinik. “The King” proved his superiority by rolling “The Boa Constrictor” into a beautiful kneebar, forcing Oleinik to tap out in just 67 seconds.