All Japan Street Fighter IV Championships: Umehara Daigo vs ベガカレー

Match is located in the upper right-hand corner.  ベガカレー(Sagat) vs Umehara Daigo (Ryu)

*These are not the grand finals of the all Japan Championships.  You can watch that here.

Before we begin, let's take a look at pre-match statistics for each character.

Sagat:

  • Excellent keep-away game with Tiger Shot
  • Can control space by alternating between high and low Tiger Shots
  • Reliable anti-air (Tiger Uppercut, st. Roundhouse)
  • Very damaging focus attack combination (Focus Attack > st. Roundhouse > Ultra Move)
  • Tiger Knee goes over low attacks

Ryu:

  • Hadouken helps control distance in front
  • cr. Forward has excellent range and poking distance, and forces opponent to block low
  • Has many tools for defeating an attempted Focus Attack (ex. Hadouken, f+Fierce, cr. Forward into Hadouken)
  • Reliable anti-air (Shoryuken)
  • Hurricane Kick can cross-up, making the opponent guess which way to block

Neither character has any real advantage over the other, as they are both nearly identical in gameplay tactics.  This match will undoubtedly come down to who can predict who better.  A single mistake can cost the match.

Round One

In the first match, ベガカレー tries to use focus attacks to negate Umehara's fireballs in an effort to get close and attack him, but his strategy fails.  Umehara successfully counters with cr forward > shoryuken, and later again with a jumping roundhouse at the 0:26 mark, successfully taking chunks of life off of his lifebar and showing that he's anticipating focus attacks.  Out of desperation, ベガカレー uses a failed focus attack into Ultra Combo, but Umehara blocks and defeats him.  Round 1: Umehara.

Round Two

ベガカレー now adopts a more defensive approach, saving focus attacks for gathering meter instead of attack.  He also begins incorporating Tiger Knee into his approach, making it unsafe for Umehara to use cr. Forward.  As the match progresses, both players begin throwing multiple fireballs in an attempt to control distance.  In an attempt to finish off the match, Umehara uses a jumping roundhouse but ベガカレー anticipates it and counters (albeit very dangerously) with a late Tiger Uppercut.  Round 2: ベガカレー.

Round Three

Now that both players have a general idea of each other's strategy, the match broils down to a fireball fight.  These kinds of bouts are usually the trickiest, because if you jump too early and no fireball comes out, you're in for a world of hurt.  ベガカレー once again tries to adopt his earlier strategy of using focus attacks from round one, but Umehara anticipates it.  At the 3:19 mark, Umehara lands a successful Shoryuken into Ultra Combo that nearly finishes him off, but ベガカレー counters the follow up with a quick throw, leaving them both within a hair's breath of losing.  One fireball attack from either could end the match, and at the very end Umehara jumps in anticipation of a fireball, only to be knocked out of the air by a Tiger Uppercut.  Winner: ベガカレー.

Summary

This was one of the most hotly contested matches in the entire tournament.  Umehara was considered the heavy favorite to win due to his #1 ranking status in overall wins, but was defeated early on.  If this was Street Fighter II HD Remix, we would be seeing an endless amount of fireballs flying back and forth, but thanks to Street Fighter IV's system, there are many ways to counter that antiquated strategy.  That helps break the monotony, and makes the game much more fun to play.

In the end, this match came down to the one with the better reflexes, and ベガカレー proved his worth and came out on top.

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