UFC FIGHT PASS will bring the highly anticipated QUINTET submission grappling event to its worldwide base of subscribers on April 11. The brainchild of PRIDE FC veteran and UFC Hall of Famer Kazushi Sakuraba, QUINTET is a unique five-on-five, winner-stays-on team submission grappling format.
QUINTET 1 takes place at the historic Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, April 11. The event stream lives and on video-on-demand on UFC FIGHT PASS as part of the world’s No.1 combat sport streaming service’s second annual PRIDE NEVER DIE! Week, which celebrates the iconic Japanese MMA promotion where Sakuraba fought so many legendary bouts.
PRIDE NEVER DIE! Week runs from April 8 to April 14.
David Shaw, UFC Senior Vice-President of International and Content, said: “Last year’sPRIDE NEVER DIE! Week was a big hit with UFC FIGHT PASS subscribers. This year, we thought there’s no better way to remember the excitement of PRIDE than with a live event promoted by and featuring Kazushi Sakuraba, the biggest PRIDE star of all.”
Created by Sakuraba himself, the inaugural QUINTET event features former UFC heavyweight champion and PRIDE FC Grand Prix finalist Josh Barnett, PRIDE FC veteran Daisuke Nakamura, 2008 Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii, submission grappling stars Craig Jones, Marcos de Souzam and Gregor Gracie – plus Japanese MMA standouts including former UFC title challenger Caol Uno.
The 20 competitors are split into four teams of five – highlighted by Sakuraba’s Haleo Dream Team, a team fielded by UK-based grappling promotion Polaris as well as teams consisting of Judo and Sambo specialists, respectfully. The teams are then pitted against each other in a series of single-elimination team vs team matches.
Kazushi Sakuraba explained: “One of the things that PRIDE did best was mix the fun factor of pro-wrestling with the reality of competition. I wanted to create an event that I, as a fan, would love to see myself. There will be a lot of strategy. Each team has bigger fighters and smaller fighters – but it is up to them which order they fight. One team may decide to start off with a heavyweight, and the opposing team may decide to save their biggest athlete until last, where he could be facing an exhausted and smaller opponent.
The Hall of Famer added: “I am very happy to be working with UFC FIGHT PASS to ensure fight fans around the world get the chance to witness this event which I’ve been working on for so long.”
Ant Evans, Fight Pass’s Senior Director of Editorial & Content Acquisition, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Sakuraba and his team to bring his unique vision to combat sports fans around the world. Only Sakuraba-san could have dreamt up a format quite like QUINTET. We can’t wait to see this actually happen, and I know our subscribers around the world will be equally excited to witness this event.”
In addition to presenting Sakuraba’s exciting QUINTET event, the second annual PRIDE Never Die! Week will feature a countdown of the legendary Japanese MMA organization’s greatest brawls, new interviews with PRIDE legends, 24-hour marathons of PRIDE content and a brand-new episode of The Third Degree presented by PRIDE and UFC legend Minotauro Nogueira.
(Courtesy of UFC)