Fighting game legend Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi is the Evolution 2017 Street Fighter V champion, following a grueling losers' bracket run and an upset victory over Victor "Punk" Woodley.
Tokido, who wasn't even ranked in the top 15 players on the Capcom Pro Tour gobal leaderboard before this weekend, went on a tear through the losers' bracket after number-one ranked Punk himself defeated Tokido 2-0 to qualify for Top 8. Before playing Punk, Tokido beat Gustavo "801 Strider" Romero and Johnny "Humanbomb" Lai-Cheng. After his loss to Punk, Tokido defeated Haitani "Haitani" Tatsuya, Ryan "Filipino Champ" Ramirez, Du "NuckleDu" Dang, Hiromiki "Itabashi Zangief" Kumada and Ryota "Kazunoko" Inoue.
Before his and Tokido's Grand Finals match, Punk had not dropped a single game all tournament, but Tokido was playing at a level no one had seen from him all year. Tokido took the first set 3-1, taunting-comboing Punk in the process. The ELEAGUE champion was broken, and Tokido proceeded to close out the night and take his trophy with a clean 3-0 victory.
Tokido has been attending EVO since the tournament series began in 2002, and is considered to be one of the five Japanese fighting game gods, as well as one of the greatest fighting game players ever for his skill at multiple games. Tokido holds multiple Top 8 finishes across various Street Fighter games, King of Fighters games, Capcom vs. SNK 2 and even Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Despite coming extremely close several times since, including placing second in Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition in 2013, this is Tokido's first EVO victory since 2007 and this third ever EVO championship overall. He won the Capcom vs. SNK 2 tournament at EVO 2002 and the Super Street Fighter II Turbo tournament in 2007.
Tokido was also one of six Echo Fox players who made Top 8 this weekend, and one of two who placed first, alongside Tekken 7 champion Hyun-jin "JDCR" Kim. Tokido will be taking home an estimated $45,732 for his victory.
Tokido now sits at second place on the Capcom Pro Tour leaderboards, and is effectively guaranteed a spot at the Capcom Cup finals in December. The only person with more points than him is Punk.
Daniel Rosen is a news editor for theScore esports. You can follow him on Twitter.