In the last big tournament before Evo kicks off in two weeks, Masato “Bonchan” Takahashi took down Victor “Punk” Woodley in a nail-biting Karin mirror-match grand finals at VSFighting 2019 in Birmingham, U.K.
The grand finals was a rematch of the winners finals, which Punk won 3-1.
Bonchan had been playing his signature Sagat all weekend, but after losing in the winners finals, switched to his other main, Karin, for the grand finals.
Punk took the first game, but Bonchan retaliated immediately with a perfect round on Punk who was trapped in the corner.
The longer the set progressed, the more comfortable Bonchan looked, and he continuously made great reads, punishing every tiny mistake or over-extension from Punk.
Up 2-1, Bonchan methodically pushed Punk back into the corner again, read Punk’s wake up EX-Ressenha from a mile away, and calmly punished him with a mixup jump normal to win the first set 3-1 and reset the bracket.
In the second set, Bonchan kept his momentum up by winning the first game, but Punk put a sudden stop to that with a perfect round in game two.
Bonchan recovered quickly though, and took the next two rounds to go up 2-0. Punk was clearly rattled, and failed to capitalize on a huge throw-whiff by Bonchan towards the end of the round, choosing to simple crouch and block, letting Bonchan follow up with a big combo that left Punk scratching his head at the end of the round.
With all the momentum back on his side, Bonchan steamrolled through the first round of game three with another perfect, leaving Punk scratching his head again.
On the verge of defeat, Punk was able to stage an incredible comeback, pinning Bonchan in the corner, but then made an uncharacteristic input error and burned his entire meter on a Critical Art that completely whiffed. Fortunately for Punk, Bonchan was stunned so he still won the round.
Despite starting the round with no meter, Punk started looking like his old self and took game three easily, trapping Bonchan in the corner with flawless Karin play.
Punk played perfectly in game four too, controlling space and again trapping Bonchan in the corner, taking both rounds quickly, and tying up the final set 2-2.
In the last game, Bonchan started playing more aggressively, throwing out normals at unsafe ranges instead of waiting patiently for counterattack opportunities as he did in the first set. In the first round, despite being low on life, he threw out a risky grab that cost him the round.
With Punk now at tournament point, and Bonchan trapped in the corner, he was fishing for a Critical Art combo to end it but Bonchan calmly denied him, blocked the ensuing overhead attempt, then punishing to take the round.
The entire tournament came down to one single round. Both competitors came out swinging, with Bonchan taking a big life lead early on. Punk was able to narrow the gap, but a massive V-trigger activation combo was enough for Bonchan to put Punk away and win the set 3-2 and with it, the tournament.
For his first-place finish, Bonchan earned 700 CPT points and US$7,000. He remains in 4th place in the CPT global leader board with 1,370 points. Punk won US$3,500 and 350 points, keeping him firmly in first place on the leaderboard with 2,845 points.