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Valle vs. Bonchan in Ultra Street Fighter 4 – a callback to one of the greatest Evo matches in history

Posted by John 'Velociraptor' Guerrero • August 13, 2021 at 7:47 a.m. PDT • Comments: 54

Coming off of a second place run from the previous year, Masato "RB|Bonchan" Takahashi was one of the favorites to win Ultra Street Fighter 4 at Evo 2015. The red-hot Japanese pro was matched up to face off with the legendary LU|Alex Valle in the tournament's earlier brackets, which actually seemed like a blessing thanks to the fact that Valle was using Hugo at the time.

Hugo, being a big-bodied grappling type character, naturally had some of the worst match up spreads in the entire game. Zoning characters gave Hugo a ton of grief, and Bonchan was the best in the world at using Sagat, one of the game's best zoners. Spoiler alert: things didn't go as anyone, perhaps even Valle, imagined they would.

While waiting for Evo 2021 to finish playing out this weekend, the fighting game community is passing the workweek by sharing highlight memories surrounding the epic yearly event. When we saw the climax of this particular bout start making rounds on Twitter, we immediately got the itch to share the details with those who haven't seen it as well as those who'd appreciate the nostalgia right along with us.

In terms of the match up, not only does Hugo have to navigate (with his large and relatively sluggish body) Sagat's barrages of both high and low Tiger Shots, he must also be constantly wary of Sagat's viciously fast and hard-hitting standing roundhouse.

Said move actually tends to whiff against a handful of the roster members while they're standing, but consistently smacks Hugo right in the kisser thanks to his height. Any chance Valle had of winning would have to come down to his being more than a step ahead of his foe... who, as a reminder, was Bonchan.

The start of the very first round is about the only time during the set that it feels like Bonchan was in any sort of control. He lops off a good half of Valle's health during the first 20 seconds or so, and then winds up uncharacteristically trying to hang on for dear life for the rest of their encounter.

Valle's expert use of Hugo's fireball-negating claps and strategically-placed armored attacks is what gives him the edge here. He makes Bonchan second guess virtually every option he has, and then goes right for the throat as soon as soon as he senses that his opponent is on his back foot.

The first three rounds are filled with rapid-paced mind games that the seasoned Street Fighter veteran uses to wear his foe down. The small hits and bits of life that come from Sagat's fledgling attacks become nothing more than a cheap price to pay for Valle to get his Hugo into advantageous positions from which he can pounce.

The climactic final round sees Mr. Street Fighter nail Bonchan with two walloping clap combos, instilling enough fear to get him to jump backwards... which is exactly what Valle is looking for. We'll let you watch how things exactly play out via the embed from Capcom Fighters below. If this doesn't get you hype for the Evo finale this weekend, we don't know what will.

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