ESPN Esports
March 12th, 2019

MkLeo claims Smash Summit 8 title in Smash Ultimate

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Genesis 6 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate champion Leonardo "MkLeo" Lopez, right, is congratulated by James "VoiD" Makekau-Tyson in the final round of the event. Provided by Robert Paul

On Sunday Leonardo "MkLeo" Lopez Perez earned his second Super Smash Bros. Ultimate major title -- and a $16,000 payout -- with a nearly spotless victory at the Smash Ultimate Summit. In the grand final of the invitational, the Echo Fox member notched a 3-0 win over Samuel "Dabuz" Buzby, capping off a relentless march through winner's bracket that incorporated only two game losses, both to Ezra "Samsora" Morris. Indeed, MkLeo's only set loss of the weekend came in pools at the hands of Nairoby "Nairo" Quezada -- and even then, MkLeo chose to play Ike, rather than his main, Lucina.

MkLeo's steamroll through winner's bracket was matched by an equally relentless loser's run by Dabuz, who descended to the lower bracket after a 3-1 winner's quarterfinal loss to Japanese wunderkind Sota "Zackray" Okada. With his second-place finish, the Olimar main got within striking distance of the Smash Ultimate major victory that he claimed was inevitable in an interview with ESPN two weeks ago. After a strong run to winner's semifinals, Zackray ultimately tied for fifth with Nairo, who he had defeated during the tournament's pools stage.

Dabuz nearly fell to William "Glutonny" Belaid in the loser's final, losing two straight games to the Frenchman's Wario before punching back with a hail mary switch from Olimar to Rosalina in game five. Unfortunately for the recently signed Team Liquid member, a similar character switch in the grand final was unable to slow MkLeo's momentum as the prodigy hurtled towards victory.

After losing a nailbiter to MkLeo in winner's quarterfinals, Samsora put together an impressive loser's run of his own, floating-cancelling his way to fourth place with victories over Paris "Light" Ramirez, James "VoiD" Makekau-Tyson and Zackray. At the Ultimate Summit, character loyalty paid great dividends for both Samsora and Glutonny, who each began using their respective mains Peach and Wario long before the characters were granted mighty buffs in Smash Ultimate.

VoiD, who wowed viewers with his deep edgeguards and extended combinations with Pichu, tied with Brian "Cosmos" Kalu in seventh place.

Though none of the Melee specialists in attendance qualified for top eight, Melee players still managed to make a splash at an event that mostly featured players coming from a Smash 4 background. Demonstrating his skillful combo abilities with Inkling, Adam "Armada" Lindgren eliminated Gonzalo "ZeRo" Barrios from loser's bracket, and both Armada and Jason "Mew2king" Zimmerman earned wins over Zack "ZD" Darby in pools.

"The skill gap is actually much lower than most people make it out to be," said Armada after his elimination at Cosmos' hands.

Armada, Leffen and Mew2king all earned respectable ninth place finishes, though the latter two were forced to defeat their Melee brethren, Justin "Plup" McGrath and Joseph "Mang0" Marquez, in order to advance.

Though this Smash Ultimate Summit title is an impressive feather for MkLeo's cap, his claim to be the best Ultimate player in the world is still challenged by Gavin "Tweek" Dempsey, who was not present at Beyond the Summit's invitational event. With the Summit in the books, Tweek is the only player remaining with a winning record over MkLeo in Smash Ultimate.

After his grand final victory, MkLeo descended the stairs at the Summit venue to share his thoughts with the tournament's 70,000-plus viewers.

"I know Tweek wasn't here," said the Summit champion, turning to point towards the camera and address his rival directly. "But I'm getting better for you, and I'm coming for you next time."

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