Weeks after Street Fighter and fighting games legend Daigo Umehara dismantled current EVO Champion Kun "Xian" Ho 10-0 in Street Fighter IV AE 2013 during a showmatch at PAX Prime, Umehara has done it once again to last year's champion at this past weekend's Mad Catz Unveiled event at Tokyo Game Show.
While not a complete shutout, Umehara's Ryu handily defeated Sun Woo Lee's Akuma 10-2. This is the first time Umehara has defeated Sun Woo Lee in their last four meetings, with Sun Woo Lee eliminating Umehara from EVO 2013, defeating him in the finals of the Street Fighter 25th Anniversary tournament, and sweeping him in the winners bracket of EVO 2012.
"Ever since I became a pro, I've been to a lot of tournaments, but this exhibition match was the one match where I thought about 'how to win' the most," Umehara said, discussing the match after it was over. "I was thinking 'If I've come this far and still lose…, I'd have to throw away all of my past experience and start again from zero.'
"I watched videos of Infiltration, and myself, and I noticed when watching myself 'Oh, this has become a habit,' or 'I should've done more of this,' and tried to work on it."
"Daigo's performance has rarely been witnessed outside the tournament scene and goes to show how dominant he really is," fellow fighting game legend and Ryu-player Alex Valle tells GameSpot. "He beat 2 EVO champions back to back by landslides victories which caught the world by surprise. This is a message for all generations to step up your true skill and not rely on gimmicks or system mechanic exploits for glory."
Valle was able to give some insight on how Umehara has changed his game with Ryu to accommodate for Sun Woo Lee's defensive style.
"Infiltration relied heavily on knockdowns and focus dashing vs fireballs in previous matches" he says. "His ground game was also slightly better which gave him an edge. Daigo also chose unreliable counter attacks such as guess Shoryuken's during relentless pressure which were all blocked. At TGS, Daigo focused only on Infiltration and took his game apart. I've noticed the spacing changes, superior ground game, and ex fireball pressure vs focuses for starters.
"I also noticed Daigo not getting knocked down as much to avoid vortex (mix ups) and counter-poking strategies vs. Infiltration's pressure. Lastly, Daigo saved a lot of meter for ex-fadc fireball and super opportunities which he landed frequently. The match was more than amazing watching from my point of view because I understand the decisions and pinpoint spacing only a few players in the world can master."
In the second day of showmatches, Umehara also defeated longtime American rival Justin Wong from Evil Geniuses 3-1. Umehara would lose in the second round of the Japanese Capcom Cup qualifier later that weekend.
Watch the matches between Umehara and Sun Woo Lee, and Umehara and Justin Wong below.