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Evo 2023 Street Fighter 6 Results

Femi Famutimi
8 min

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Evo 2023 Street Fighter 6 Results
The very first Evo for Street Fighter 6 goes to...

Top 6 of Street Fighter 6 Evo 2023 was a very eventful affair. 

One of the big talking points early in Street Fighter 6's life is the question of whether Japan is as strong as they used to be in Street Fighter V considering how many strong players are all around the world. The fact that there were three Japanese players in top 6 does point to the fact that the region remains at the top of Street Fighter. 

Top 6 for Street Fighter 6

The Road to Top 6

Coming into the tournament, MenaRD was the favorite to win after what has been an electric two months in which he won CEO 2023 and Get on My Level 2023 while taking second place at Defend the North 2023. Besides, Mena also had several wins in community events cementing himself as one of the top 3 players in the world in most people's estimation. 

He was also incredible at Evo taking down the living legend himself, Daigo 2-1 in a set that wasn't streamed, but is still remarkable. 

However, making it into top 6 wasn't going to be easy and he came up against a player who looks to take Street Fighter 6 by storm— Kakeru. Kakeru took third place at Red Bull Kumite in South Africa after winning the LCQ with some ease. He had also looked really good when playing in some of the more casual matches before Evo, pushing MenaRD in those sets to the limit. He showed his mettle with his JP up against Mena

Kakeru and Mena gave us a set to remember as the two battled for the right to be in top 6 and when it came down to the wire, Kakeru was the victor, sending Mena to losers and making it to top 6 on the Winners' side. 

Mena would not be denied though and defeated Moke and Fujimura to claim a spot in Top 6 Losers' side.

Another player who was having the tournament of his life was Punk. The multi-tournament winner is yet to win Evo coming very close in 2017 only to lose to Tokido. Punk has been lethal in Street Fighter 6 and besides Mena and Caba is perhaps one of the strongest players in North America. So far at Evo, he has dropped just one round, and considering how large the bracket has been, that is remarkable. Punk had to defeat Oil King and then was faced with Nemo whose JP is one of the strongest in Japan, but he remained unfazed and defeated Nemo to stake his place in Top 6 where he has the unenviable task of defeating Haitani to move on.

Haitani is one of the five Japanese fighting game gods and he has shown why he has that title in the last couple of months. Known as an extremely strong Makoto in Street Fighter IV, Haitani sort of fell off in Street Fighter V, taking a more subdued role, but he has roared back to life in Street Fighter 6 terrorizing everyone with Modern Chun li of all characters. He is the only Modern user in Top 6, but showcases the strength of that button regime in the right hands.

Top 6 is rounded out by Tokido and AngryBird two competitors who can easily win the entire tournament. For the former, he needs no introduction and has won Evo twice for Street Fighter. Tokido will be looking to cement his legendary status with another Evo win. Meanwhile, AngryBird has won UFA 2018 and Brussels Challenge 2019, but is yet to win any of the top Street Fighter prizes yet. He did almost make Top 8 at Evo last year, but just fell short, now, he had a chance to really make a name for himself. 

MenaRD vs Daigo

Top 6 Recap

The first match of Top 6 was between AngryBird and Kakeru. Kakeru's JP is incredible and his zoning ability is unrivaled, but up against one of the most aggressive players to ever pick up a controller, it was always going to be a slog. AngryBird kept standing in Kakeru's face, whiff punishing anything he could. The two are quite familiar with each other as they have regularly run sets against one another online. The game went down to the final round and AngryBird closed it out. AngryBird did suffer from some nerves, especially in the second game where he was so close to making it 2-0, but a dropped combo gave Kakeru a way back to make it 1-1. At the very end, AngryBird dropped another combo, but thankfully, he was able to recover enough to take the win.

The next match was less feisty as Punk came up against Haitani. Punk is one of those players who does really well with momentum and when he's on it, there isn't a player better than him. He was clearly on it on the day as he was ready to face up against Haitani and his Modern controls. The veteran Japanese fighter was great, but Punk was just a step ahead and won 3-0 keeping with his insane record of not dropping a game at Evo so far.

The first match on the Losers' side was between Kakeru and the legend, Tokido. As with all the other Kakeru matches, this was also close. But it all came down to an insane finale where Tokido, showing nerves of steel, interrupted a combo by Kakeru to pull off a level one super to win the set. The previous round had also seen him pull off an impossible comeback further solidifying the perception that Tokido has some weird plot armor.

Tokido Clutch

Haitani, still reeling from his defeat from Punk now had to face MenaRD. The set was fun, but MenaRD was just too strong and sent Haitani crashing out of the tournament in 5th place. 

Winners' Final

The Winners' Final was a friend affair with Punk facing AngryBird. Punk had come into the set without dropping a single game but against AngryBird, it was going to be hard to maintain that. AngryBird in his customary aggressive form and was able to take a game against Punk. Punk shook it off soon and took a game back. This was the story of the set as it was very back and forth between both players. By the final 5th game, both players were tense, but in a commanding finish, AngryBird sent Punk to Losers'.

Losers' Side

The next match was a repeat of the final of Capcom Cup 2017 between Tokido and Mena. In that set, Mena won, bringing himself to international attention. Now, he is a two-time Capcom Cup champion and Tokido is a much older veteran. Picking Blanka, Mena went up against Tokido's Ken. Tokido was insane as always and was even looking like he could win, but Mena used the Blanka install and with both players in burnout, Mena punished Tokido's Drive Impact and got the win. 

The Losers' Final saw Mena face Punk which is a repeat of one of the final games of CEO 2023. Punk took a two-game lead and looked like he might run away with it. But, Mena took a few minutes to read his notes and came back a different man. He was punishing all of Punk's whiffs and putting in sneaky hits and was stealing the game back. He took it to the final game, the 5th one in the Top 6 which is insane and he was able to finish off Punk meaning the United States still does not have an Evo win in Street Fighter.

Punk gone

Grand Final

Grand Final was a classic with the strongest bull, MenaRD up against AngryBird. With Blanka, Mena put AngryBird under much pressure. It went down to the wire but Mena was able to force a reset by switching to Luke. AngryBird was ready for Mena in the second set taking the first game, before Mena switched to Blanka again to get the scores back on par. But, AngryBird showed resilience, putting behind him the disappointment of Red Bull Kumite to win. Big Bird was a finalist in 2019's Evo but fell short to Bonchan, but AngryBird went the distance and has now won his first major in his career. 

He now qualifies for Capcom Cup X automatically and has joined a very small pool of players to win an Evo. He took to his Twitter to comment on this historic win giving thanks to Allah and being overwhelmed by finally achieving one of his dreams.

Congratulations AngryBird.

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