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Brooklyn Beatdown: Top-8 prepare for SFV finals

Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi, the winner of the Evolution Championship Series in July, is raring for another title this weekend in New York. Gail Fisher for ESPN

While much of the hype on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn centered on the Counter-Strike tournament, fans keeping an eye on Brooklyn Beatdown were treated with some high-level Street Fighter V action. There were plenty of upsets and surprises all around as the players battled it out all the way to the top-eight on Saturday.

New school puts in work

This has been the year of fresh faces in the Street Fighter V scene, and Brooklyn Beatdown was no different.

Leading the way was Saul "MenaRD" Mena, who torched the competition with much of the crowd behind him all day. The 18-year-old from the Dominican Republic is here to show that he can hang with the best, and he surely did just that on Saturday. He easily cruised through his pool before coming up against some stuff competition in the winners side of the top-32. There, he beat Tatsuya "Haitani" Haintani in a close 3-2 series before taking out Naoki "Nemo" Nemoto in the winners quarterfinal to secure his place in the top-eight. This high-energy player will certainly be one to keep an eye on going into the final day.

MenaRD was the only new school player to fully wade through the top eight, though, as Victor "Punk" Woodley and Bryant "Smug" Huggin had battle through the losers bracket.

Punk was knocked down into the lower side of the bracket in his pool, but he kept trudging along, winning five matches in a row to earn a spot among the final eight. Along the way he toppled the reigning Capcom Pro Tour champion Du "NuckleDu" Dang, signaling a possible changing of the guard. As the current No. 1 player on the 2017 Capcom Pro Tour standings, Punk will try to ride this streak into the final day to bring home a win.

Meanwhile, Smug continues to show that his switch from Karin to Balrog was the correct move for him as a player. Ever since making the move earlier in the year, he has been playing better than ever. He made it all the way to the winners quarterfinals, where he was beaten by Keita "Fuudo" Ai, which sent him into the losers bracket. He handily took down Haitani 3-1 in that series to add to the young talent pool that will compete Sunday.

Veterans aren't too shabby, either

While the new kids on the block continued to impress, the stalwarts of the Street Fighter scene staked their claim on the game with some dominant performances themselves.

The highlight of the day on this side of things was witnessing the legendary Daigo "Daigo" Umehara continue his return to form. After winning the Hong Kong Esports Festival last month, Daigo seems to be playing his Guile with more confidence than we've seen him display during the lifespan of Street Fighter V. While he got knocked into the losers bracket, it was a loss to reigning EVO champion Hajime "Tokido" Taniguchi. Daigo then recovered with a 3-1 win over John Takeuchi to secure a spot in the top-eight.

Speaking of Tokido, he still looks to be riding high from his win at EVO. He didn't drop a single game on his way to Sunday and is one of three members of Echo Fox among the final eight contenders. Joining him are Justin Wong, who also came in from a dominant run in the winners bracket, and Yusuke Momochi, who found his way in by way of a 3-1 win over Hyungsuk "Verloren" Kong in the losers bracket.

Fuudo was yet another veteran who made it into the top-8 by way of the winners bracket, which makes three of the four players in the winners side of the top-eight veterans of the Street Fighter series.

With so many top names in this top-eight, sparks will surely fly on the final day of competition. The action will begin at 11 a.m. ET.