Eight kings of the FGC have emerged from the biggest, bloodiest, and most breathtaking Evo yet.
Over 9,000 competitors gathered at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center last weekend for the biggest fighting game and esports event in the world. After three days of intense action across eight different games, we have our Evo 2023 champions.
Mortal Kombat 11
First on the list was Mortal Kombat 11. With its sequel coming out later this year, the battle for first was brutal. All 400-plus competitors were looking to crown themselves as the very last Mortal Kombat 11 Evo champion.
Rising above all other combatants was Jarrad “NinjaKilla212” Gooden. He defeated previous champion Matias “Scorpionprocs” Martinez in the losers finals before taking the trophy after a close grand final reset against Scorpionprocs’ twin brother, Nicolaas Martinez.
Melty Blood: Type Lumina
Making its second appearance as an Evo main event, the Melty Blood rivalries were still intense as the West continued to fight back against Japan’s dominance in the game.
Despite Jimmy “jimmyjtran” Tran’s best efforts, it was an all-Japanese grand finals. After a clean 3-0, Moai takes the championship — a massive improvement over his 16th-place finish last year.
King of Fighters 15
Coming in with one of the most diverse nationalities in their top six was King of Fighters 15. Players from China, Taiwan, Brazil, Japan, and more duked it out in one of the most intense mainstage finals of the weekend.
Taking it all in the end was Zheng “Xiao Hai” Zhuojun. He’s proven his KOF 15 dominance by becoming a two-peat Evo champion. First, for defeating Cia-Chen “ZJZ” Tseng, the Evo 2022 champion, in this year’s Evo: Japan, and now, after beating Evo 2022 runner-up Ling “E.T.” Chia-hung in the grand finals.
Dragon Ball FighterZ
As the final Evo mainstage game, Dragon Ball FighterZ closed out to a massive crowd. With the European scene being as strong as ever, everyone was waiting to see if anyone could knock them off the throne.
After a nail-biting 3-2 grand finals, America’s very own HIKARI crowns himself as the Evo 2023 DBFZ champion. This win also automatically qualifies him for the DBFZ World Tour Finals taking place next year.
Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3
First to grace the finals arena on Sunday was Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom 3. The old Evo favorite was brought back to the limelight as a throwback event, causing it to get a record number of entrants.
Old favorites clashed with new blood. In the end, it was Gabriel “Jibrill” Lam who emerged victorious after a clean sweep against Matthew “Evasion” Skuce.
As another game that’s making its swansong at Evo, Tekken 7 shows why it remains the king of 3D fighters. The war for the ‘best Tekken region’ between Pakistan and Korea still rages and many were waiting to see which one will claim that title one last time at Evo.
As it turns out, the title will go to Pakistan again as Arslan “Arslan Ash” Siddique claims his second Evo championship against Akihiro “Ao” Abe. With a convincing 3-0 finish, Arslan Ash proves once again why he is the best Tekken 7 player of all time.
Guilty Gear Strive
With a show of true, multinational talent, Guilty Gear Strive’s top six was one of the most exciting of the evening. America’s NBNHMR (pronounced as “Nubenheimer”) was sent to the losers bracket early on by Korea’s Kim “Daru_I-No” Jae-won. From there he would face down UK’s Adam “Setchi” Farmer, Japan’s Churara, and even knock out fellow American Claire “UMISHO” Harrison before exacting his revenge against Daru_I-No in the losers finals.
In the end, however, the championship went to Sweden’s William “Leffen” Hjelte after a crushing 3-0 victory. This puts Leffen as one of the few Evo winners to win a championship for more than one fighting game title.
Street Fighter 6
Capping off the evening was the most anticipated finals of the weekend. With over 7,000 entrants distilled to six, Street Fighter 6’s Evo debut delivered on all fronts.
It looked like America was going to win it all as Victor “Punk” Woodley entered the top six undefeated in both matches and games. That is until he met UAE’s Amjad “AngryBird” Alshalabi, sending him to losers after a narrow 3-2 victory. Punk would then fall to Saul Leonardo “MenaRD” Mena II, leading to the most intense grand finals of the night.
MenaRD and AngryBird fought tooth and nail for the championship, taking one game after another. After an incredibly close grand finals reset, AngryBird would emerge victorious as Evo 2023’s first-ever Street Fighter 6 champion and the first competitor to enter Capcom Cup X.
Banner photo from Evo.