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How Many Mortal Kombat Tournament Wins Liu Kang Actually Has

The Mortal Kombat franchise has been around since 1992, and in its long history, the series has released 11 mainline games and several spin-offs. Over the course of that run, there have been several of the titular Mortal Kombat tournaments where one person wins and is granted immortality. This includes Liu Kang, who may have canonically won the tournament more than any other character.

Prior to the events of the first Mortal Kombat game, Goro was the reigning champion. He had bested the forces of Earthrealm nine times and his tenth win would have sealed the fate of the Earth and its people. Fortunately, Raiden pulled together a collection of Earthrealm warriors to fight back at the tournament. That group included Liu Kang, a Shaolin Monk with untapped potential. While the original Mortal Kombat had different endings for each character, Mortal Kombat II revealed that Liu Kang's ending is the canonical ending.

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That means his victories over Goro and Shang Tsung made him the Mortal Kombat tournament winner. This marks his first win in the tournament, though it's far from his last. Similar to MK1, the next few games would have different endings for each character, but Liu Kang's ending would eventually be revealed as the canonical one. So, in MK2, he was able to take on the Emporer Shao Kahn and emerge victoriously. Kang then bested Shao Kahn once again in Mortal Kombat 3 before defeating the Fallen Elder God Shinnok in MK4.

With those four victories in tow, Liu Kang moved to a lesser role for the next few games before reemerging as a major force when developer Netherrealm split the timeline in Mortal Kombat (2011). Even in the new-look Mortal Kombat timeline, Liu Kang would again win the first two tournaments. However, the timeline is then altered even more, and his tournament victories end there.

Technically, that gives Liu Kang six Mortal Kombat tournament wins. The discrepancy comes in that Mortal Kombat 3 and 4 weren't like the previous tournaments players had seen in the first two games. MK3 sees Shao Kahn merge Earthrealm and Outrealm and players must work against his extermination forces to save the world. While MK4 has players fighting against Shinnok's forces in a war across the realms, Liu Kang is the one to take down the final boss in both of these games, winning Mortal Kombat. But, since they weren't normal tournaments, those wins are a little less concrete than his other victories.

In the end, Liu Kang has at least four canonical victories in a Mortal Kombat tournament. His wins over Shao Kahn and Shinnok are equally impressive, but might not strictly fit the criteria depending on how a fan decides to judge it. Either way, his track record is undeniable, which is what makes Liu Kang one of Mortal Kombat's greatest combatants.

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