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Red Bull Kumite New York: The Strongest Bull Bullies His Way To Win

Femi Famutimi
4 min

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Red Bull Kumite New York: The Strongest Bull Bullies His Way To Win
It was a strange event, equal parts awesome and lacking

MenaRD cemented his spot as the best Street Fighter 6 player as he took Red Bull Kumite over NuckleDu in a final that was an absolute blowout. In truth, a lot of the Kumite featured blowouts which made for exciting or disappointing watching depending on who you were rooting for. 

This year's Red Bull Kumite event was a single elimination tournament from start to finish which is how the last couple of events have gone. However, instead of a ceremony where everyone got to know who they were playing, this year's event featured a blind element in that players were picked at random to face one another with each match required to finish before the next set of players were revealed. 

With a great spread of players from around the world, there was a lot of expectation going into the tournament, what we got was a first set of sets that were blowouts. The first-to-five format was retained and the first match saw iDom defeated by Nephew 0-5 to crash out of the tournament at the first hurdle again. 

This is iDom's second Red Bull Kumite 5-0 defeat having suffered the same result against Problem-X last year. That time, his nightmarish travel ordeals were mitigating factors for his performance. There was no such hiding place this time as one of the best Street Fighter V players got absolutely destroyed by Nephew. 

It was another terrifying defeat in the next match as NuckleDu pummeled Hibiki the Beast 5-0 to send the Lily main out of the tournament. 

There were two standout sets in the first round of games which were Dual Kevin vs Chris Wong and Broski vs MenaRD. These sets went down to the final game as Chris Wong and Mena were able to get the better of their opponents, but it was so, so close. Broski was really impressive as he left with his head held high and perhaps with people giving A.K.I. a benefit of a doubt now. 

The second set of matches (the quarter finals) did not see any 5-0 results, but there were some dominant performances like Leshar against Big Bird who fresh from defeating Tokido 5-1, must have felt really confident. But, Leshar made it out of the toughest group at Capcom Cup on top, and so, against Big Bird's Marisa, was too much to handle. Punk against Chris Wong was also a good watch as the Hong Kong native pushed Punk, but the latter came out victorious. 

The Semi Finals went back to the blowout format  as NuckleDu made light work of Leshar while MenaRD completely obliterated Punk to the point that in his exit interview, Punk asked Capcom to nerf Blanka as that might be his only salvation against the character. 

This led to a Grand Final that on paper looked really close, but in reality was anything but. 

Mena who had already decimated Punk was on hand to mete out the same punishment to NuckleDu as he proved that he is indeed the strongest bull. 

If the Red Bull Kumite showed anything, it is the ascendency of North America in Street Fighter 6 as Japan, traditionally believed to be the best region did not have a good outing at all this time. Maybe things will change in the second season of the game, but right now, North America is probably the strongest region in the game. 

This tournament is probably one of the last major ones for the first season of Street Fighter 6 (Evo Japan is happening next month) and it will be intriguing to see what happens in the upcoming season as players get even more used to the game. 

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