September 10th, 2023, this Sunday, marks the return of Quintet #4, an event started by MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba in 2018 that became the catalyst of the Team x Team format that has since flourished in our sport. One could say the OG TXT tournament.
The format of the Quintet remains unique in our sport in a number of ways, one of which is the no heel-hook rule in there (somewhat unpopular for a no-gi professional format) that was likely set to appeal to MMA athletes given that this maneuver can produce particularly lengthy recoveries if an injury occurs from its application.
QUINTET INVITATIONAL RULES:
– No-Gi Matches, rash guard is required
– 10-minute sub-only
– If the weight difference between challengers is over 15 kg, the match will be 5 minutes only
– No heel hooks allowed
– Limited time allowed in closed guard
– Each team has 5 members
– The total weight of the team will not exceed 420 kilograms (926lbs)
For this fourth edition of the Quintet tournament, the promotion has steered away from the UFC Fight Pass streaming platform where it started and will now be set in FloGrappling. A channel with a large grappling-savvy audience which allowed for the promoters to choose teams with a more uniquely dedicated to grappling/jiu-jitsu rather than the cage-fighting emphasis of days past. Below we will describe a bit of the title challengers for the Quintet strap.
One of the most well-liked teams in our sport, B-Team will be captained by Aussie grappling veteran & 2x ADCC silver medalist Craig Jones. They are, on paper, the favorites to win the event and are coming in with the “big guns” Jones & Nicky Rod, the squad’s most accomplished athletes who will be joined by the equally talented Nicky Ryan, Jacob Rodriguez, and Jozef Chen.
The team is bringing in a fun mix of styles with passing/takedown specialists in the Rodriguez brothers, the well-rounded skillset of Craig & Ryan as well as newcomer Chen who has been very active in the competitive scene over the past couple of years with great results.
Arguably the underdog of the whole tournament will be Team Sakuraba, whose biggest asset will be the former Japan resident Haisam Rida. Another athlete that may raise a few eyebrows at the tournament will be Tomoshige Sera, a competitor who has competed at a good level in grappling, holding a win at the ADCC Southeast Asia Open this year. Sera also reached the quarter-finals of the IBJJF American Nationals this year.
Another one of the team’s weapons will be the unfamiliarity of its opponents with some of the athletes on this squad, as it consists mostly of MMA fighters.
– (c) Kazushi Sakuraba
– Tomoshige Sera
– Haisam Rida (41-25-1)
– Daisuke Nakamura
– Harry Grech
TEAM 10TH PLANET
Quintet 2 team champions return to Tokyo with a very similar squad to the one that got the title back in 2018, the only difference here being the inclusion of leg-locking specialist Kyle Boehm, who will be replacing the squad’s former heaviest athlete, Adam Sachnoff.
All the athletes in this team are seasoned veterans with many years of experience at this level, therefore, expect 10P to put on a real challenge to the Quintet strap. Team 10th Planet will be facing Quintet arch-rivals Team Polaris for a remake of Quintet 3’s semi-finals.
Representing one of Europe’s biggest events is the original Quintet Team Survival Match champion, Polaris. Out of the team that won the inaugural Quintet tournament a few years ago, only Gregor Gracie remains – the team’s captain. The rest of the crew will consist of European talent with Santeri Lilius & Tarik Hopstock as the most accomplished jiu-jitsu athletes of the group.
An interesting concept by Team Polaris is its exclusion of big ultra-heavyweight competitors from its lineup. Instead, the squad will feature middle & medium-heavyweights with Owen Livesey being the largest competitor of the bunch (heavyweight).