EVO, the biggest fighting tournament in the world, finally returned to Las Vegas this year, holding the first in-person EVO since 2019. As always, some of the biggest fighting games headlined the EVO 2022 show with returning champions and newcomers alike elevating the hype of the event to another level.
Tekken 7, arguably the main game EVO is famous for, and one that has the most eyes on it, just concluded its championship on August 7th, this Sunday night. We saw the Top 8 finalists battle it out throughout the day, with three players standing above the rest: Arslan Ash, Khan, and Knee.
Some would even say that is the exact lineup they envisioned as their Top 3. Arslan Ash faced an unexpected defeat in the initial stages, setting up in the Losers Bracket, while Khan prevailed throughout the event and stayed in the Winners Bracket up until the Semi-Final set. Knee went without a single loss in EVO 2022.
Both Khan and Arslan met in the Losers Bracket Semi-Finals where Khan edged Arslan 3-1 in the fourth round, moving onto the Grand Final set. Before that, Khan actually went up against Knee in the Winners Bracket Semi-Finals where Knee won 3-1 against him, securing his place in the Grand Final.
Khan and Arslan are from Pakistan. In fact, Khan is Arslan’s training partner and Arslan has mentored him in many ways. Arslan has even gone on record saying that the toughest opponent he’s ever faced is Khan. On the other hand, Khan was kind of an underdog coming up in the tournament but it quickly became clear that he was going to be one of the finalists.
Knee’s winning year
Knee, hailing from South Korea, is often proclaimed to be the greatest Tekken player of all time. The man has had an illustrious career with major wins in nearly every tournament. However, he has never won a mainline EVO title, something he has tried to do every single year since Tekken 7 came out in 2017.
Knee and Arslan went up against each other at EVO 2019 but Arslan prevailed in the end, making history for Pakistan in one of the biggest shocks of modern gaming history. That’s why a lot of people were hoping for a rematch, Arslan Ash and Knee in the Grand Finals of EVO 2022. And it almost happened, had Khan not beat Arslan in the Semis.
Knee is a two-time EVO champion otherwise, having won Tekken Tag Tournament 2 in 2013 and EVO Japan in 2018. Despite his elite status as the first player in the world to reach Tekken God Omega rank with every character in Tekken 7, Knee has remained winless when it comes to Tekken 7 at EVO.
That all changed tonight when he met up with Khan in the Grand Finals. In a riveting 4 rounds of some of the best Tekken I’ve ever seen, Knee got the leg-up on Khan, winning 3-1 becoming the EVO 2022 Tekken 7 World Champion. After so long, Knee finally got his due diligence in the best way possible, and cemented himself as truly the GOAT.
Khan ended up placing 2nd in the tournament, while Arslan Ash secured the 3rd position. Out of the Top 3 EVO 2022 Tekken players, two were Pakistani. The fact that Pakistan went from being completely unknown in the Tekken competitive scene three years ago, to now being (arguably) the only nation that can stand up to South Korea, is a feat in of its own self.
You can watch the entire Top 8 tournament finals on EVO’s Twitch channel. We have attached a YouTube reupload of the Grand Final between Knee and Khan below. If that wasn’t enough, BANDAI Namco teased the next game in the Tekken series, most likely Tekken 8, right after the awards ceremony.