Quintet: The New Promotion by Kazushi Sakuraba and Josh Barnett

New MMA promotions are popping up all the time. Some are just a flash in the pan, while others bring a unique twist to the game we all love. With that thought in mind, we have some great news about a new promotion starting in April in Japan. The promotion is founded by MMA and wrestling superstars Kazushi Sakuraba and Josh Barnett. We are talking about Quintet. You may ask yourself, what’s this all about? What are the rules? Who is going to be debuting? We have all the information for you here.




QUINTET 1 – Grappling Team Survival Match – April 11, 2018

Venue: Ryogoku Kokugikan Sumo Hall

17:30 (open); 18:30 (start)

Produced by rabarland Inc. in association with HALEO

Format: 5-member grappling team, “winner stays on” survival matches



  • Each team has 5 members
  • Total team weight must not exceed 430kg
  • The matches are Openweight
  • The winner is decided only by submission. No judge decisions
  • Each match is 10 minutes long
  • A competitor weight difference of 20kg or over means 5-minute matches
  • Fighters must wear rashguards
  • If a winner is not decided after all 5 members have fought, an extension match between each team’s first choice will follow. This will continue until there is a winner.
  • No heel hooks or closed guard


Kazushi Sakuraba is the representative of rabarland Inc. in association with HALEO, the corporation behind QUINTET.





SAKU’s team HALEO:

Kazushi Sakuraba, Josh Barnett, Daisuke Nakamura, Hideo Tokoro, and Marcos Marquinhos Souza.


SAKU’s comment:


“Thanks to our sponsors and everyone involved, we were able to establish QUINTET. I would like to contribute to the combat sports world by holding these grappling events, and help nurture and encourage amateur fighters around the world. We are planning 3 events this year, the first in Japan, and then England and America where grappling competitions are popular these days. We are also preparing to hold amateur events in Japan, and aim to promote the QUINTET style of “winner stays on” Survival Matches. HALEO is sponsoring our team for the first event.”


“The team weight limit may be 420kg or 430kg – this is yet to be decided. We want competitors to fight as close to their natural weights as possible in order to reduce extreme weight cutting issues. Hiroki Nakai of the Jiu-jitsu Federation of Japan (JJFJ) is being consulted regarding the rule set. The rules are being adapted to not restrict grappling arts fighters from the likes of Jiu-jitsu, Judo, Wrestling, and Sambo.”


(Team introductions)

Judo team

Yoon Dong Sik – “We used to train together for a long time. He has completely different grappling techniques from me, and he caught a lot of us with armbars in training. I talked to him about QUINTET and asked him to make a Judo team. The first fighter he recommended to me was Satoshi Ishii. He’s a Judo gold medalist, and I’ve heard his grappling is very good. Josh Barnett has also said Ishii is very strong.” Jung Bu Kyung – “He’s like a younger brother. He’s an Olympic silver medalist, and he’s fought in DREAM in Japan and has other MMA fight experience. His armbars are also very good.”


Sambo team

“Sambo has some great submissions, so I’m looking forward to facing them. I asked Donatas, a promoter from a European event called Bushido to gather a Sambo team, and he’s put together fighters from Lithuania and other countries. Teodoras Aukstuolis, who I remember fought well in RIZIN, is a Combat Sambo champion in Lithuania; Marius Zaromskis, who I fought when my ear ripped off – I’m guessing that’s why Donatas chose him – is a striker. I mentioned that to Donatas, but he said his grappling is good, so no problem. I’m looking forward to it.”


“I don’t have much information on the other three members, so their style is a mystery to me at the moment.”


“Ukrainian Mykyta Mikhno. is a European Combat Sambo champion.

Sergey Grechko is a world Sambo gold medalist.”

“A long time ago, a Soviet team called “Red Bull Army” fought in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and I remember I was surprised to see such great Sambo fighters. I’m hoping to see good moves and techniques from the Sambo competitors in QUINTET too.”


Polaris team

“Polaris in the U.K. has been involved with QUINTET from the start, and they are sending some top BJJ guys to join us. Greigo Gracie is representing his family. He’s a coach at the Renzo Gracie gym in New York. He wrestled in high school, and was a national champion, so he’s a high-level competitor. It seems my fight with the Gracies is never ending! Charles Negromonte is a head coach at Roger Gracie’s gym and a sparring partner of Roger’s. I’ve heard his fight style is very powerful and dynamic. Australian Craig Jones is a rising star in the BJJ world who made himself noticed last year. He submitted two ADCC legends last year, and the Judo world has its eyes on him. British Dan Strauss has fought in Polaris and has a black belt under Roger Gracie, and from what I’ve seen, his character stands out. I’m told by Matt from Polaris that he’s a fan of mine and wears my gear in training!”


“We will announce all remaining members once set.”


Broadcast free of charge on Ameba TV; live international broadcast will be announced at a later date.


About the Author

Jeremy Deschner
Black Belt in American Karate from the Texas Karate Institute. Now training in Brazilian Jiujitsu in Japan. Twitter: @mmajpn1 @jiujitsu_Jedi

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)