MenaRD – whose real name is Rise Saul – has been crowned the champion after defeating “Tokido” – Hajime Taniguchi – in the grand finale, held on Sunday in Anaheim, California.
The win comes as a surprise to many, due to the champ’s age – along with the fact that he was the only player from the Dominican Republic to reach the top 8.
The win is even more impressive when considering the fact that the game-field featured some of the most experienced and highly-regarded players in the world – and we saw the likes the cygames’ “Daigo the Beast”, Umehara, and Ponos’ “Naoki Moke Nakayama” all competing for the chance to win.
What’s more, the next edition of Street Fighter – Street Fighter V – is on the way, making the win a timely occasion for all involved.
In terms of how MenaRD managed to claim victory; the final itself was a fantastic match, with MenaRD securing victory in a nail-biting 3-2 victory. The rematch saw Tokido take the lead, playing an offensive strategy – but it still wasn’t enough for the champ, as he managed to maintain a solid defensive strategy, expertly dodging throws, jabs, and fireballs from his opponent.
When asked about his performance, MenaRD said:
“I was not reacting to the fireballs and adjusted to play more aggressively,” MenaRD said. “When he didn’t think about adjusting to his fireballs, I took advantage of that.”
He went on to say…
“I felt very confident because I had the Dominican Republic on my back.”
It wasn’t just his country that had his back, however; the fans turned up in their masses to support him, and indeed, after winning, many fans rushed the stage, causing security at the event to step-in, with fears that MenaRD may accidently be injured in a tramped!
“I was not nervous and felt at home. I feel like every moment; my tournament life is on the line.”
It’s clear the youngster has nerves of steel – something that’s needed in tournaments like these (especially when playing against older, more-experienced players with titles already to their name), and it’s almost certainly going to be the beginning of a long, fruitful career for the Dominican Republic youngsters.
His win, however, wasn’t the only surprising result of the weekend; despite not winning, Alienware player Naoki “Nemo” Nemoto stunned viewers when he battled his way through a 250-strong playing field to make it all the way to the losers final, of the Capcom Cup. This incredible display of strength once again confirms that Alienware have a solid player-base lined up, ready to take on ANY event – and it’s likely we’ll be hearing a lot more of Nemoto, and MenaRD in the coming weeks, months, and years.
While eSports are still in their ‘development stage’, wins like these are attracting new players to the scene – and it’s only going to get more popular as time goes on – something that’ll benefit both the eSports operators, and the players.