Kuwait Battle Royale may have ended with the favorite raising the trophy, but getting to that point was far from a foregone conclusion.
Super Akouma and his Akuma prevailed at Kuwait Battle Royale on Saturday evening. He secured the win - his first ever at a TEKKEN World Tour event - by holding off Bahrain's Tekken Master in the grand final.
The French star entered the weekend as a strong favorite, as he was the only player in the field to qualify for last year's TEKKEN World Tour global finals. He looked the part during early bracket play on Friday, dropping just one game on his way to the winners' semifinal.
Super Akouma squared off with Tekken Master in that semifinal. The Frenchman emerged with a 2-0 victory to advance to the winners' final, but that's where the dominant scores ended.
The eventual champion faced a stiff challenge from Federer of Saudi Arabia. Super Akouma won the set 3-2, but Federer's King gave Super Akouma everything he could handle in a battle that went down to the 'final, final round.'
Tekken Master fought through the losers' bracket, including a 3-1 win over Federer, to earn a rematch with Super Akouma in the grand final. Tekken Master and his Geese took the opening set 3-2 to reset the bracket, then took the opening game of the reset to put Super Akouma in a world of trouble. But Super Akouma found an extra gear and fought his way back, winning the next three games to take the set 3-1 and win the title.
Beyond Super Akouma and Tekken Master, the story of the tournament was Saudi Arabia. Saudi players made the most of their visit to neighboring Kuwait as they took six of the top eight places on Saturday.
Federer finished in third place, one spot ahead of MD-Luffy. Awadi and CallMeNoob tied for fifth place, while Broly and Wasfi rounded out the top eight.
With Kuwait Battle Royale in the books, the TEKKEN World Tour now heads into a rare off-week. The next event will be the Korean Master Event on April 28 and 29.