After coming out of nowhere to win EVO Japan earlier this year, Pakistani pro, Arslan Ash, put on another masterclass at Thaiger Uppercut this weekend.
Undefeated throughout the tournament, Arslan met Bae “Knee” Jae-min in the grand finals.
For the final fight, the two pros stuck to their main fighters, with Arslan using Kazumi and Knee using Devil Jin.
Arslan dominated in the first game, capitalizing on quick low pokes to chip off some health from Knee. After each low poke, he used Kazumi’s signature glide back to secure some distance from any retaliation on Knee’s part.
The second game favored Knee with his more aggressive play-style. Catching onto Arslan’s glide patterns, Knee started to rush him, and managed to take the game, tying the score at 1-1.
With a better read on Arslan’s Kazumi, Knee reined in on the third game with unbelievable spacing and exquisite use of his Rage Art, winning all three rounds and taking a 2-1 series lead.
Despite the bad loss in game 3, Arslan stuck to his plan and continued his poke-heavy play in game 4, managing to work around Knee’s hellsweep and EWGF (Electric Wind God Fist) and tied up the score 2-2.
Game 5 turned out to be a one-sided display. Arslan continued to pressure with well-spaced pokes, leaving Knee in a tough spot, hesitating on whether to match with his own pokes or to try to force a juggle with a risky launcher.
After a predicted hellsweep and a deadly counter-juggle, Arslan defeated Knee with a 3-0 set and became this year’s TGU Tekken champion.
Thaiger Uppercut 2019 is Arslan’s first Tekken World Tour appearance and win of the year, earning him US$500 and 150 Tekken points.
Arslan now takes 27th place in the global standings while Knee, who went home with US$250 and 100 TP, moves up from 7th to 4th place.
The next TWT event will be a Masters event at CEO: Daytona in Florida, happening on June 28-30.