Saleem "Salem" Akiel Young has won Super Smash Bros. for Wii U at EVO 2017 after an upset victory over Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios in an extremely close, 10-game set.
Salem took ZeRo, the 2015 EVO champion and number one ranked player in the world to Game 5 twice, beating him 3-2 both times. Both sets were incredibly close, as the players traded games back and forth, with many nearly going to time out. In the end, Salem clutched out a win after an early stock defecit with a Bayonetta combo that sent ZeRo flying off the top of the screen at low percent.
Salem had a relatively difficult path to Grand Finals. After losing his first Top 8 match to Larry "Larry Lurr" Holland, Salem beat Japanese Sonic player Kengo "KEN" Suzuki, top Cloud Gavin "Tweek" Dempsey and managed to bring down Larry 3-1 in a losers' finals runback.
Salem was ranked 11th on the most recent Panda Global Smash 4 Rankings, in part thanks to his recent string of strong tournament placements. Over the past few months, Salem has placed fifth at Frostbite 2017, second at 2GGC Nairo Saga, seventh at CEO 2017.
He also has a reputation for coming out of nowhere to take stacked tournaments. In 2013, Salem, then known mostly as a strong online player, defeated some of the best Super Smash Bros. Brawl players in the world to win Apex 2013, his first ever tournament win. Since then, Salem found consistency in Smash 4 and has proven himself to be one of the best Bayonetta players in the world.
Salem will be going home with an estimated $9,048 for winning, along with his first place trophy.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.