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Street Fighter 6 at CEO 2023: The Raging Bull Does It Again

Femi Famutimi
5 min

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Street Fighter 6 at CEO 2023: The Raging Bull Does It Again
With an excellent record MenaRD once again shows why he is arguably the best Street Fighter player on the planet

MenaRD is the champion of the first major Street Fighter 6 tournament held in North America. The Capcom Cup winner was on hand to once again prove that he is certainly in the conversation as the best Street Fighter player in the world. He won CEO 2023 against Nephew 3-1 on the back of some really impressive performances. 

He was one of the favorites going into the tournament and he did not disappoint and has given the Dominican Republic something to cheer about. 

Top 8 Players at CEO 2023

CEO 2023 Top 8

Mena had been impressive all weekend and was easily getting perfects like no man's business. He started top 8 in barnstorming fashion beating another of the favorites, iDom, 3-0 to move on to Winners' Final. In that match, he perfectly countered iDom's attempts to build Manon's medals and therefore, really stopped him from playing. All in all, it wasn't a great top 8 for iDom who later lost to Florida native, Sticky Fingers

iDom is undoubtedly one of the greatest players in the world, but sometimes his decision-making when it comes to character selection is a little puzzling. For instance, in one of the Capcom Pro Tour Finals against Punk in Street Fighter V, iDom made a strange switch from Poison to Laura when he seemingly didn't need to and lost as a result. In his match against Sticky Fingers, he opted to use Juri instead of Manon and it wasn't until he lost the first two games that he finally made the switch to Manon and got a game under his belt, but then, he lost the next game and crashed out. It is quite possible he would have gone further if he had stuck with Manon

In a tweet he put out later, he explained that he went for Juri to see how Sticky Fingers' Manon would react to raw Drive Rush. But, seeing as he hasn't used Juri since the beta, it was a bit of an odd choice. 

In other matches, Punk vs Caba was an absolute classic. Punk used Cammy with Caba using his traditional Guile. The two were very professional and solid in their gameplay, but Caba was just a cut above in the first couple of matches reacting impeccably to everything Punk had to offer. Caba was parrying everything and his anti-airs were so good. However, Cammy is one of the best characters in the game, and when she gets her rush down going, she is very difficult to stop. Caba went two games ahead, but Punk isn't called the Alpha for nothing and his clutch abilities came into play again as he slowly, but methodically started finding the chinks in Caba's armor.

Caba lost the game and was involved in another banger against eventual Grand Finalist, Nephew. This also ended 3-2 and once again Caba was on the losing side. 

As for Punk, he got slaughtered by MenaRD in Winners' Final as his Juri pick to counter Mena's Blanka did not go so well. While Punk was able to blow up the Blanka balls, Mena's ability to vary the strength and speed of the Blanka balls meant that he was able to catch Punk whiffing and punish accordingly. It also doesn't help that the animation for Blanka's Drive Impact is so deceptive that it is almost impossible to react to. So, Mena was getting the better of Punk. The moment Punk got a game though, Mena immediately switched to Luke, forcing Punk to deal with the match-up with Juri and he got the win. 

Punk vs Caba tense finish
Punk vs Mena Winners' Final

Grand Finals

Nephew vs Punk in Losers' Final was a great match that was tense from start to finish. Nephew and Punk are great friends and know each other pretty well, but Punk usually has the upper hand. But, not this time as Nephew who won the PAX East Invitational over Punk seems to have his friend's number in Street Fighter 6. Both players used their OD reversals liberally, and it took Punk whiffing his to give Nephew the opening he needed to finish off his friend. 

Unfortunately, Grand Final had no such story as Mena, dominant all weekend, was at it again using Blanka once more and giving Nephew no space. The set ended 3-1 in favor of Mena and he is the CEO 2023 champion. 

Next up for Mena is Red Bull Kumite in South Africa where he will be facing the rest of the world including the Japanese players. This sets things up nicely for that showdown and after losing out to Tokido in Street Fighter V at the Topanga World Championship he would probably love another chance to face off against some of the greats of the game. 

Red Bull Kumite will take place on the 1st and 2nd of July 2023. 

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