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Former champions sent home early, underdogs running strong, and off-screen eliminations - EVO 2014 is already looking to be a year of upsets

Posted by Steven 'Dreamking23' Chavez • July 11, 2014 at 11:33 p.m. PDT • Comments: 72

SPOILER ALERT: We want deliver a fair warning before you proceed; this story includes spoilers from EVO 2014. If you don't want to know the outcome of a handful of the Ultra Street Fighter 4 matches, you may want to turn back now.

The first day of Evolution 2014, the largest fighting game event of the year, is now over with and done. What was, in reality, roughly 15 hours of tournament action seemed to last an eternity due to the inconceivable amount of amazing bouts and hype moments.

Day 1 has already been host to a multitude of unexpected victories/losses and several large upsets. Two of the top picks to win the entire tournament have already been sent home, and multiple underdogs currently sit among the top ranks.

Below you will find an EventHubs exclusive recap that details some of the most surprising outcomes from our EVO 2014 results story.
MCZ|Daigo Umehara has been eliminated from the tournament on the first day. No matter how many times you say it aloud, it just simply does not become any more believable. The Beast has not only been breaking necks and cashing checks over in Japan as of late, currently ranked #1 in the Ultra Street Fighter 4 arcades, but was also favored to take home top honors at this year's EVO by pro players and fans everywhere.

His first hurdle came in the form of FGTVLive founder Ryan "RG|Filipino Champ" Ramirez. Though the match was not shown on stream, the uproar quickly spread across the Twitter-verse shortly after its conclusion. Not only did Ramirez defeat Umehara's exceptionally high-level Evil Ryu with a character that doesn't place too high on the tier lists, Dhalsim, but FChamp is most well known for his success as an Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 player, occasionally taking part in Street Fighter 4 series tournaments. That being said, Ramirez is definitely no slouch when it comes to keeping his opponents at bay with well placed standing heavy punches and fireball/teleport mix-ups.

Daigo's next opponent wasn't looking to be any easier than the former. In a battle of good vs. evil, The Beast came face-to-face with long time rival, Level Up's Alex Valle. Luckily, the at home audience was given the opportunity to witness this legendary tournament bout live, as Evil Ryu and Ryu traded Hadoukens on stream.

With what appeared to be a breath of new life in Umehara's play-style, the former EVO champion made quick work of Valle's Ryu, taking two games straight in convincing fashion.

Unfortunately, Daigo received a taste of his own medicine upon running into yet another rival from his past, John Choi. This set, like the one with Filipino Champ, took place off stream, but reports indicate that Choi eliminated The Beast in a vicious clean sweep -- 4 rounds straight, 2-0. Umehara is not the only former champion to have his road to top 8 cut alarmingly short, however.

EVO's 2012 champion, Seon-Woo Lee a.k.a. Infiltration, fell on hard times this year as well. Another player predicted to take home the gold, (or at least expected to secure a spot in the top 8 with ease), faced his first upset at the hands of Veloc1raptor -- a skilled Gouken player that frequently competes at Super Arcade's weekly Wednesday Night Fights event held in Walnut, California. Veloc1raptor is most certainly one of the great up-and-comers on the scene today, and defeating a player as accomplished as Infiltration is definitely something to write home about.

Infiltration's luck did not improve going into his next, and ultimately, final set of the tournament. Stepping into the arena with Eita from Japan, the two warriors set out to prove which of them has the stronger Akuma in Ultra Street Fighter 4.

Unfortunately for the EVO 2012 champ, Eita's Akuma proved stronger of the two, and thus marked the end of Infiltration's tournament run. Both of Infil's losses were fought off stream, much like many of today's other upsets.

One champion, more specifically last year's Capcom Cup champion, is doing exceptionally well for himself at EVO 2014. HORI|Sako has made a strong showing today, demonstrating his impeccable skills with a myriad of characters.

During one of the latter winner's bracket matches, Sako decided to bring out his Elena against another up-and-coming player who frequently competes at Wednesday Night Fights, NGL|Marq Teddy. What was supposed to be a character match-up in favor of Sako took a turn for the worst as Teddy's Guy quickly scored a first game victory.

The first round of the second game looked like much of the same as Sako just couldn't seem to get anything started on the speedy Guy player. With only one round away from being defeated, Sako managed to flip the switch, using Elena's long ranged normals and EX Mallet Smash overhead to take the round and cling to his winner's bracket life.

Once Sako claimed his first in-game round he was able to keep the momentum going, shutting down nearly all of Marq Teddy's advances. The Capcom Cup champ battled back from the brink of death and ended up taking two games straight, mounting a comeback that won him the entire set.

Sako fought on, scoring a victory over Twitch|KojiKOG's T. Hawk using another interesting character that isn't seen too often in tournament play: Gen. In Ultra Street Fighter 4's top 16, however, Sako (Evil Ryu) met his match in RZR|Gackt (Fei Long), suffering an incredibly close loss in the final round of the set.

He now sits on the loser's side of top 8 after eliminating AVM|Gamerbee using one of his trademark mains, and fourth character of the tournament: Ibuki.

Much like previous events in the series, EVO 2014 is already looking to be a year of upsets .

A fairly large number of all-star matches were run off stream today, and we have a huge battle log that includes the results for many of those sets along with everything shown on stream. If you'd like to see how the others shook out, you can check out all of the current EVO 2014 results and standings here on EventHubs.
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