16 competitors entered the cage but only one could become the champion.
It was a weekend of firsts in the Red Bull Kumite 2023. It was the first time the event was held in South Africa, the first time Street Fighter 6 was the featured game of the event, and the first time they’ve adopted a first-to-five, single-elimination format.
Fitting, as it’s a brand new era of fighting games.
With that comes excitement and energy to see who’ll reign supreme in this new era. We got all that and more in Red Bull Kumite 2023 and here are just three of those unforgettable moments that took place in South Africa.
JabhiM v.s. Tokido
This was easily the biggest upset to happen in the entire event.
Jabhi “JabhiM” Mabuza is the king of South African Street Fighter but he’s still nothing but an underdog when facing Hajime “Tokido” Taniguchi, one of the Five Fighting Game Gods of Japan.
No one could have possibly foreseen that JabhiM would soundly beat Tokido 5-3 and eliminate him from the tournament. It’s a monumental statement for the growing scene in South Africa and a highlight of JabhiM’s career.
Red Bull Combo Contest
Pros have to be calculated in the way they fight, but who says they can’t be flashy?
The Red Bull Combo Contest was a fun side event where pros had to impress judges with their most stylish, efficient, and practical combo. It’s pretty hard to nail all three but this also gives an opportunity for players to show their creative side.
Big Bird, The Undisputed Champion
Last but not least of the firsts was Adel “Big Bird” Anouche taking the very first title of Red Bull Kumite Street Fighter 6 champion.
What made his victory even more impressive was his choice of character: the woman-shaped battering ram known as Marisa. Many top-level players place her low in tier lists as her slow movement and attacks can be abused by high-tier characters.
It’s clear that Big Bird thinks otherwise as he was able to beat two of Marisa’s worst matchups in the game, JP and Guile. Both characters have very powerful long-range projectiles to keep Marisa out. Showing clear mastery of his character, Big Bird would bulldoze through these zoners and win the entire tournament.
Banner image from Big Bird on Twitter.