In a grand finals match that almost went the full distance, Ryusei Ito has emerged as the victor of Evo 2017's BlazBlue Central Fiction tournament.

After a litany of technical woes plagued the game’s pools yesterday, the top eight that took the stage at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas were some of Japan’s finest.

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Ryusei came into the grand finals undefeated, on a streak that included a 3-0 victory over his grand finals opponent, Shoji “Fenritti” Sho, in the winner’s finals. Sho, meanwhile, had to fight his way back for a rematch against Ryusei, to a finals where he’d have to win twice to hoist the Evo trophy.

Sho came out strong with two quick wins against Ryusei. The long battle back through a five-game loser’s finals seemed to have shifted momentum in his favor, and Sho was handling the dual-fighter pressure of Ryusei’s Carl, dancing away from the corners and making smart reads on Ryusei’s attempts at pressure.

In game 3, Ryusei found a footing to mount a comeback, catching Sho in several difficult positions where he could team up on Sho’s Jin.

It wouldn’t hold much longer though, as a tense game 4 left Ryusei without any options to overcome a life deficit before time could expire. Sho reset the bracket, and after a jovial teabag spam from both players, it was on to a final first-to-three to decide 2017's BlazBlue Evo champion.

In the final set, the roles were reversed as Ryusei went up two games to put the series on tournament point. Sho staved off Ryusei in games 3 and 4 though, and in true anime battle fashion, the BlazBlue finals came down to a single match between these two players.

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After a tense back and forth, Ryusei put on an insurmountable level of pressure. One opening was all he needed, and Ryusei, bloodied but unbowed, emerged as Evo 2017's BlazBlue champion.

You can watch the full grand finals match on Twitch here.