1st Round Draws
Team Tri-Force vs Team Wolf
Team Body Ride vs Team Brave Gym
While team leader Nobuhiro Sawada will be the lightest of the team, coming in at just 60kg, his technical ability more than makes up for his size. A decorated champion who has titles in the All Japan JBJJF, IBJJF Asia and IBJJF World Championships, Sawada has a tight game, strong submissions and a wealth of competition experience. Instructor at Tri-Force Jiu-Jitsu Academy, one of Japans oldest, largest and most respected BJJ clubs. Tri-Force has churned out a wealth of Japanese and World Champions and Sawada has confidently elected 5 members from their network to represent their academy.
After winning the Amateur Quintet 2019 All Japan Championship Ultimate, Kazuhiro Suzuki participated as a member of Team Sakuraba at Quintet FN 4. Battling Shoko Higuchi to a draw Suzuki succumbed to a kneebar from Carpe Diem ace Tomoshige Sera. Quitting his day job, Suzuki got serious and returned at Quintet FN 6, taking Kazushi Sakuraba’s son, “Sak Jr” the distance. Constantly improving and yet to achieve full potential, Suzuki has also participated alongside other teams competitors and will have valuable insights.
At 41 years old Daizo Ishige is a veteran with a rich career in a variety of Martial Arts. From a solid Judo base he transitioned well into Sambo, winning the All Japan Sambo Championships. MMA provided another challenge, with Ishige climbing his way up to become the Pancrase Welterweight King. Now a Tri-Force JuJitsu regular the solid 75kg warrior has already won the All Japan BJJ Championships. Ishige has a host of experience to draw upon and is very versatile, able to play the game required to turn the tide or ride out a win. Furthermore, in addition to being an exceptional competitor, Ishige acts as a pillar of support for the team.
Naoki Hirata is the brother of One Championship stand out and top contender, the surging Itsuki Hirata. Naoki may not have the recognition as his sister, but possesses the same kind of potential to make an impact. Already off to an impressive start in MMA, the fighter relies on his strong Judo backbone and athleticism. On the mat he is well-versed and skilled, and, at 72kg, will be a tough competitor to get past.
With a dynamic and aggressive style, fellow MMA fighter Kousuke Nakajima has been coming into his own as a JuJitsu player, recently earning his Brown Belt. With a go for broke approach Nakajima has both the submission repertoire and the expertise that could prove crucial to the team in scoring a finish.
Neo Judo founder, 45 year old MMA legend Michihiro Omigawa once again takes the helm for team Wolf. Labeled as “Judo for MMA”, Neo Judo is also pertinent to a range of grappling applications and rule sets, Quintet included. With a “if it is not broken don’t fix it” Mentality, Michihiro Omigawa has retained the same team as Quintet FN 5. World class Judoka’s flanked by 2 JuJitsu submission specialists. While not extensively known for his submission acumen, Omigawa has some finishes that complement his suffocating groundwork. Progressing inch by inch towards a Mae Hadaka Jime (guillotine Choke), Kata Gatame (head and arm choke) or even a Sode Guruma Jime (Ezekiel Choke).
Judo royalty, 2x Olympic gold medalist, Masato Uchishiba was impressive in his sophomore Quintet appearance, going the distance with Tomoshige Sera. Known throughout his career as a talented all rounder with a full tool box of techniques. Uchishiba trained all facets of the sport diligently, utilizing high altitude throws, reaps, pins, submissions to rack up medals. Currently, the 43 year old Olympian has taken his work ethic, talent and physical to No Gi grappling and has shown he can compete with the best.
Lightest member of the team, 58kg Seiichiro Ito brings experience competing in MMA and submission grappling at the highest of levels on biggest stages. Flyweight Champion in the grappling heavy MMA organization ZST, the Judoka is very difficult to submit and a capable finisher. A submission technician for the team, Ito is capable of arm and leg submissions but excels at chokes, with 2 Ninja Choke finishes on his resume
As of 2019 Shinji Morito ranked no under the Japanese Brazilian JuJitsu Federation black belt division. Facing off against the dangerous and virtually impossible to finish Tomoyuki Hashimoto, Morito settled for the draw. Unlikely to be submitted, the 75kg BJJ competitor will be gunning for a finish this outing.
Grant Bogdanove held his own against Carpe Diem standout Masahiro Iwasaki in his Quintet debut. Having trained Judo since a kid the 26 year old moved to collegiate wrestling before taking up BJJ, the American “Wolf” fits perfectly with the team. Strong offense and defense on the feet, with the option of going to the ground and scoring a submission, Bogdanov’s flexibility makes him a vital addition to the team.
Team Brave Gym
Team Brave Gym captain Kazuyuki Miyata was a 63kg representative of Japan at the Sydney Olympic games. With multiple wrestling titles, his credentials earned him a spot in the big show, K-1, where he tried his hand in MMA and Kickboxing. Now 45 years old Miyata is far more than a Wrestler, his submission skills cannot be under-estimated. “Little Hercules” also packs a lot of raw power on to his 65 kg frame. Miyata has used his considerable influence to reach out to former training partners, gathering and eclectic mix of some of Japan’s very best.
Fighting in some of the biggest orgs in Japan, Tatsuki Saomoto boasts a 16-2 MMA record and a 10 fight win streak. The 4th ZST flyweight champion holds an MMA win over Team Wolf’s Seiichiro Ito, sparking a rivalry that could spill over to the mat. The exceptionally conditioned wrestler packs a lot of power into his 62kg frame and should have the brawn to match some of the larger competitors.
Team Brave Gym brings out the heavy artillery with the addition of Sotaro Yamada. Arguably the best submission grappler in Japan, his flair for submissions were on show early in his career. As a lightweight he tore through the 8th Pancrase Catch Tournament under 80kg and 100kg divisions, winning every match by submission. Not a lot has changed since then, Yamada remains a fearsome competitor and prolific finisher. His diversified portfolio of submissions can, in part, be attributed to his somewhat “Ronin” style of training. Yamada has had a relationship with a copious amount of gyms, honing his formidable arsenal of joint locks and chokes. Returning to Brave Gym, the submission guru would appear to be their ace up the sleeve.
Grappling pioneer Masakatsu Imanari re-wrote the book on submission grappling. His unorthodox rolling and sliding style, focusing almost entirely on leg submissions, paved the way for future generations. Emerging from Rings/ Combat Wrestling, the “10th Dan of Leglocks” strings together lightning quick leg submissions from his patented “Imanari Roll.” 10 years after training at Brave, he re-unites with Miyata to lend his leg submission wizardry.
Toshiyasu Sagae is BJJ instructor at Toikatsu, the network of gyms run by the eccentric, and innovative, Katsuya Toida. A large network known for their diversity of styles and world class practitioners, Toshiyasu Sagae represents the new generation of grapplers. With a grasp on the latest, cutting edge techniques, Sagae answered the call from friend and former training partner Miyata to represent Team Brave Gym.
TEAM THE BODY RIDE (formerly Team Sakuraba)
Old school legend, Team Body Ride leader Daisuke Nakamura started his career under the U-File pro wrestling/ MMA banner, carving out an impressive MMA and grappling record. With a pro wrestling influence Nakamura has forged a distinct and highly effective ground game. Prioritizing finishes at all cost Nakamura appears to surrender positions frequently, then, from these “vulnerable” situations turn the tables to seize remarkable submissions. Renowned for his stockpile of armbar techniques, Nakamura is the 1st of Team Body Rides “Armbar Trio,” competitors picked specifically by Kazushi Sakuraba.
After competing in Judo at a high level, Shutaro Debana made quite an impact on the MMA scene, competing under the alias “Captain Africa”. His impressive transitions from throws to submissions combined with a fondness for unusual submissions established him as one to watch. Constantly working for a submission from Ezekiel chokes (Sode Garuma Jime), to flying armbars (Tobi Juji Gatame), the 77kg Judoka has looked sensational in Quintet. Noted for his extensive knowledge of submissions, Debana has a particular penance for armbars, forming the 2nd member of the “Armbar Trio.”
Tomoshige Sera is the final member of the “Armbar Trio”. A Quintet regular with vital understanding of the system and practitioners, Sera is also regarded as one of the finest grapplers coming out of Japan. An expert in the modern guard game, Sera can quickly wrap around legs and arms, scoring sweeps, reversals and submissions. If he scores top position, the armbar technician will inevitably be fishing for an arm and finishing in textbook fashion.
Naoyuki Kotani competes out of Rodeo Style gym, which seems a perfect fit for Team Body Ride. With a base in Judo, Kotani maintains a great balance between heavy top position and an arsenal of very effective, and sometimes unconventional, holds and locks. At 73kg he can play the rock solid “shield” if required, or remain dynamic and poised to submit opponents. The MMA and grappling veteran adds additional security to back a “trio” of risk takers.
43 year old Kohei Yasumi retired from MMA 15 years ago after engaging in battles with some of the top fighters of his era. With a strong foundation in wrestling, the 73kg veteran has been constantly expanding his prowess on the mat at Lotus Setagaya. The Champion of the ADCC Asian Qualifiers, Yasumi is steadfast on his feet, with heavy hips, potent throws and unyielding defense.
Solo Match: Yuki “Submission” Takahashi vs Shoya Ishiguro
In a contrast of styles and disciplines, rising MMA star Yuki “Submission” Takahashi takes on Carpe Diem’s Shoya Ishiguro, who remains undefeated as a black belt.
Fighting out of Wajutsu Keishukai Hearts / Imanari Jujutsu, Takahashi notes that he is a modern grappler who has no JuJitsu base. Training and fighting in Shooto, “Submission” has a progressive and aggressive game, wrapping and twisting, he excels at setting up heel hooks and leg submissions. In MMA he is a proven, quick, finisher, under Quintet rules, the big stage of grappling, there is no doubt that the 22 year old prodigy will rise to the challenge
Shoya Ishiguro competes out of Carpe Diem, one of Japans premier BJJ gyms. Carpe Diem has had unparalleled success in Quintet and Ishiguro is set to continue the tradition. The All Japan Championship 2020 Adult Black Belt Featherweight Champion is undefeated as a Black Belt and plans on keeping that streak going. With 12 years of BJJ experience there will be little Ishiguro has not seen on the mat. Defending his gym and record, Ishiguro will settle for nothing less than a finish!
Opening Match: Takaya Okazaki vs Kazutaka Hagiwara.
Okazaki was the runner-up in the black belt lightweight division of the All Japan BJJ Championship last year. As the head instructor at Carpe Diem Aoyama expect Okazaki to be well schooled in all aspects of modern BJJ game.
Hagiwara trains out of Reversal Gym Musashi Kosugi Tokoro Plus, so expect a rolling, spinning, acrobatic style. Coming from a team of submission hunters Hagiwara will not hold back going for the finish and may go out on his shield trying. His background in fencing makes the match all the more intriguing!
Special Iron Man match: Garittochu Fukushima vs TBA
Popular celebrity impersonator and comedian Garittochu Fukushima will bring some light hearted entertainment to the evening. While the TV talent has experience in Judo, Fukushima brings name recognition and will likely be focused on amusement rather than serious sporting proficiency.