History was made at Quintet 1 as Kazushi Sakuraba introduced a tournament unlike any other. If you didn’t wake up for the UFC Fight Pass presentation this morning, you may want to wait to read this. There are SPOILERS!
The format was four teams of five elite grapplers competing in a tournament series with a rule set all its own:
1. Total team weight cannot exceed 430kg
2. Matches are openweight
3. Submission only. If there is no submission, the match ends in a draw and both teams move to the next grappler
4. Each match is eight minutes long
5. Weight difference over 20kg is a four minute match
6. Penalties given for closed guard, stalling, not enough action in general
7. No heel hooks
Sakuraba intended to bring an exciting, action packed event to grappling, and he succeeded beautifully. Even the matches that did end in a draw were incredible to watch. Constant aggression and countering, as well as the unique team format meant that grapplers had to work together to develop a strategy to keep their team moving forward to the semifinals.
There were submission finishes in 11 out of 17 matches. Some of the highlights came from Marcin Held (Team Polaris) who won 2 matches by knee bar, but the real action was in the final rounds with Marcos Souza catching Caol Uno with an armbar, and then Craig Jones coming back to tap Marcos Souza with a knee bar!
— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) April 11, 2018
Here’s how the bracket broke down:
Team Haleo vs. Team Judo [Team Haleo wins]
Team Polaris vs. Team Sambo [Team Polaris wins]
Team Haleo vs. Team Polaris [Team Polaris Wins]