Guzma remarks that his victory is still certain, brushing off Golisopod poorly-timed Emergency Exit from last time. He orders Golisopod use Poison Jab, managing to poisonTorracat despite its spectacular evasion attempt. Golisopod follows up with Throat Chop, though Torracat evades it while still afflicted by the poison. Torracat uses Fire Fang as it latches onto Golisopod's arm and engulfs it in flames. Golisopod is able to shake Torracat off and kicks it away, inflicting a lot of damage. Nanu declares Torracat unable to battle, and Ash recalls it back to its Poké Ball to rest. Guzma is relieved, admitting under his breath that he was beginning to sweat.
Guzma is amused at Ash's next choice, Pikachu, and recalls that Golisopod easily defeated him last time. Ash remains confident, declaring that the battle isn't over yet. Spurred on by his cheering Team Skull Grunts, Guzma boasts that he will win, though Plumeria is more skeptical. Guzma starts things off with a Poison Jab, though Pikachu slides between Golisopod's legs to evade. Golisopod counters an oncoming Iron Tail with Liquidation. Pikachu is in mid-air from the clash, to which Golisopod uses the chance to slam him to the ground with Throat Chop. Pikachu reels from the pain. Hala and Professor Kukui realize Guzma, despite his potential, has not changed at all. Plumeria hopes for Guzma’s sake that he wins, especially for the many grunts who also felt like outcasts until joining Team Skull.
Pikachu is able to continue the battle, though Guzma urges Ash to accept his loss and move on. Ash refuses to give up, which irks Guzma. Guzma doubts Ash could do something, and has Golisopod use Pin Missile. Pikachu protects himself with an Electroweb before using a Thunderbolt, which Golisopod blocks with its claws. Guzma smirks, noting the attack didn’t work. Ash, however, predicted this and has Pikachu strike Golisopod’s legs with an Iron Tail, knocking it over, then uses Thunderbolt to electrocute it in mid-air. Golisopod stands to its feet with a red glint in its eyes, and Guzma is beginning to feel the pressure of the match, Guzma becomes more and more furious as he looks Ash, seeing something in his eyes. He recalls his days of training alongside Kukui and the overwhelming feelings of humiliation he felt every time he lost during their practice matches. Plumeria is fully aware of Guzma’s sentiments, and come to the realization that Guzma’s undefeated title is fake. She sees he is very much like his Golisopod, as both hide behind their armor and run away to avoid being hurt. The match continues as Ash charges up his Z-Ring. Golisopod shields itself in anticipation while Pikachu launches a Gigavolt Havoc. Surprisingly, Golisopod managed to withstand the Z-Move.
Seeing Golisopod's bold strength, Guzma is reinvigorated after reflecting on his past and now more determined to test his limits. He orders a Pin Missile, which Pikachu evades with Quick Attack. Pikachu strikes back with Iron Tail, though Golisopod counters it using Liquidation. Pikachu fires Electroweb, though Golisopod shreds it with its sharp claws. Golisopod uses Poison Jab, which Pikachu ricochets off to evade. Pikachu replies with Iron Tail, but that attack is collides with Golisopod counter attack, Liquidation. An intense moment passes before Golisopod falls to the ground. Nanu declares Golisopod defeated and awards the match to Ash, allowing him to advance to the finals. Ash looks at Guzma, who walks towards his Golisopod. He lowers himself down, and helps Golisopod stand up before recalling it to its Poké Ball. As Guzma prepares to leave the battlefield, Kukui stops him to say that he'll be waiting for him in the next League. Guzma doesn't reply back and continues walking away. Guzma is greeted by Plumeria and his loyal grunts backstage. He announces that the era of "undefeated" Guzma is officially over and orders everyone to go their separate ways, The grunts, however, are moved to tears and Plumeria explains they have all been inspired by watching his battle. Plumeria assures Guzma that the grunts still want to follow him, and she assures him of her own loyalty. Guzma smirks before leaping into the air in happiness, ushering a new beginning for Team Skull.
That evening, Ash's Pikachu and Torracat are healed by Nurse Joy and later rewarded with a bowl of Pokémon food for their efforts in battle. Lycanroc and Togedemaru deliver more dishes to the pair, and Pikachu allows Togedemaru to eat with him. Though Torracat refuses to share, displeasing Lycanroc. Though Lillie has prepared another dish for Lycanroc. Ash's friends urge him to do his best in the finals match against Gladion. Ash assures them he will, and all of his Pokémon, except for Rowlet who is fast asleep, cheer to that. At the docks, Gladion and his Pokémon stare at the sunset with anticipation. Kukui is equally excited and marvels at the Manalo Stadium grounds as wonders the fate of the finals match; Ash or Gladion. Meanwhile, a swarm of Meltan walk along the seafloor and towards the stadium.