Last night’s Top 8 for Street Fighter V at Evo 2017 was something to behold. The biggest game of the multi-fighting game tournament, Street Fighter always caps off the Evolution Championship Series, and last night did not disappoint.
After two days of pools, the tournament was down to eight players on Sunday night: five from Japan, and three from the U.S. In what is usually a fairly diverse playerbase in terms of country of origin, this year saw the East battle the West. Given the unusually high number of American players in Top 8, the United States was in a better position than ever to take its first Street Fighter win at Evo in the modern era (which began in 2009 with Street Fighter IV). Here’s what the Top 8 Bracket looked like:
Top 8 #Evo2017!
🇺🇸 Punk vs 🇯🇵 Itabashi
🇺🇸 Nuckledu vs 🇯🇵 Kazunoko
🇯🇵 MOV vs 🇯🇵 Moke
🇺🇸 Fchamp vs 🇯🇵 Tokido
— SRK Stats (@SRKRanking) July 16, 2017
Victor “Punk” Woodley, one of the strongest Street Fighter players in the world, carved through his bracket and made it decisively to winner’s side of Grand Finals. Fighting game tournaments are double-elimination, meaning that Punk hadn’t lost a match, and if he was defeated in Grand Finals, he would get to play his opponent a second time.
The other two American players, Du “NuckleDu” Dang and Ryan “Filipino Champ” Ramirez lost all of their matches, despite NuckleDu coming into Top 8 on Winner’s side. Japanese player Joe “MOV” Egami was eliminated on Loser’s side, followed by Naoki “Moke” Nakayama. Hiromiki “Itabashi Zangief” Kumada grappled his way into fourth place, before being stopped by Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi.
A veteran fighting game player, Tokido crawled his way back from loser’s bracket, eliminating Filipino Champ, Nuckledu, Itabashi Zangief, and finally the third place finisher, Ryota “Kazunoko” Inoue. He made it into Grand Finals with the young gun Punk, who had effortlessly glided past his opponents so far.
In a grueling 17-minute finals match, Tokido won the first set against the 18-year-old Punk 3-1, resetting the bracket. Punk took little time to collect himself in-between rounds, and by the second set, Tokido had all the momentum. Tokido made quick work of Punk, securing a perfect round and a “Raging Demon” victory in their first two games. The Japanese player ultimately took the second set 3-0 over Punk, who was visibly emotional following his heartbreaking loss.
Tokido was awarded over $35,000 for his victory, although Punk is still the number one-ranked player on the Capcom Pro Tour.
If you want to watch the insane Street Fighter V Grand Finals as well as Tokido’s celebration ceremony, check out the match footage below.