February 24, 2011

Arnold Classic 2011 Predictions

Woots! It's the time of the year again. Time for the Arnold Classic, that is. The Arnold Classic is the second most prestigious bodybuilding contest in the world and the winner of the Arnold Classic will be a top contender for the Mr Olympia in the same year. To be exact, the Arnold Classic will be held on Saturday, March 5 at Veterans Memorial as part of the Arnold Sports Festival. Prejudging will begin at noon and finals at 7pm.

Alright, so let's get to the juice of this post - Who, in my opinion, will win the Arnold Classic 2011 title? This year's Arnold will be exciting as defending champ, Kai Greene will not be competing, therefore, we could see a new champ this year OR the two guys who have won the Arnold Classic before, Dexter Jackson and Victor Martinez, could add another AC trophy to decorate their mantel. If Dexter wins it this time, he'll be the winning-est Arnold Classic winner of all time (tied with Flex Wheeler).

Here is the full list of competitors.

1. Evan Centopani
2. Roelly Winklaar
3. Branch Warren
4. Dexter Jackson
5. Victor Martinez
6. Johnnie Jackson
7. Essa Obaid
8. Dennis Wolf
9. Robert Piotrkowicz
10. Ronny Rockel
11. Ben Pakulski
12. Toney Freeman
13. Sergey Shelestov
14. Mohammed Touri
15. Fouad Abiad

And here are my top ten picks.

#10 Essa Obaid

Essa Obiad made a sensational pro debut when he won the Arnold Amateur 2010 pro-qualifying contest and then won his first pro show, the Europa Supershow the same year. Essa would easily beat the five guys who are not in this top ten list. However, I don't see him beating Toney Freeman or anyone else I placed higher than Toney. Sure, he is really REALLY dry and still stay massive despite being in a fatless and waterless condition. However, he does not have the prettiest physique onstage, lacking the right proportion and balance and at 5'10", he still needs to fill up his limbs. And in a recent interview with Essa and George Farah as his translator (Essa barely knows any English), Farah mentioned that Essa had a turbulent prep, having stumbled upon accidents and setbacks. All the best to Essa for his second pro contest!

#9 Toney Freeman

This prediction is quite low for the X-Man whom usually places in the top ten of the Mr Olympia. Then again, this is very tough line up and being the oldest competitor in this line up at age 44, Toney doesn't have age on his side. But what he does have in plenty, experience, will allow him to easily leave the rest of the guys eating dust.

#8 Dennis Wolf

Dennis Wolf lacks consistency. Sometimes he can come in bad shape and not even make the top ten of the Olympia and sometimes, he could shock everyone with his show-stopping back double biceps and fantastic V-tapered body. Thus, the range of where Dennis will place could be anywhere from top 3 to out of the top ten. But based on his performance at the Flex Pro, where he was kinda "off", I'll place him just ahead of Toney.

#7 Fouad Abiad

Fouad has made loads of progress leading up to the Flex Pro 2011. If you look at his photos before the flex pro, he has gain much mass and his muscles are rounder and more defined, especially his quads. Based on the results of the Flex Pro, I think he'll nudge Dennis back a place again, but I doubt that he'll beat Roelly and the rest.

#6 Roelly Winklaar

I love this guy cause he really has attitude. Watch his training videos and you'll know what I mean. Just as he turned pro (via Arnold Amateur), he got 7th in the Arnold, 3rd in the Australian Grand Prix (behind Kai Greene and Dexter Jackson) and won the New York Pro (ahead of Dennis Wolf). However, Roelly was off and placed 14th at the 2010 Mr Olympia. Still, his huge cannonball arms and shoulders will be a crowd pleaser. Hope that he comes in cut this time and place well. I can see him placing as high as 3rd place if his off-season training was productive.

#5 Ronny Rockel

I've seen pre-contest photos of Ronny Rockel looking very lean, even being just several weeks from the Arnold. Ronny is the epitome of a short bodybuilder with plenty of muscles built onto a compact frame. His recent Olympia records show that he is a rising star in the sport, placing 6th in 2010 and 7th the year before even though he has not placed above the top ten before that.

#4 Evan Centopani

Great expectations are placed on Evan Centopani after he won his second professional contest, out of two tries. And not just that, but also beating 2008 Mr Olympia Dexter Jackson along the way. Make no mistake, fourth place at the Arnold Classic on the first try is very good. However, being the least experienced guy in the predicted top five, Evan might find it hard beating top athletes such as Dex, Victor and Branch. Yes, he has beaten Dex at the Flex Pro show few weeks ago. But Dex was off and I think he'll be seeking vengeance this time around.

#3 Victor Martinez

Victor Martinez in an uncrowned Mr Olympia, having controversially lost to Jay Cutler in 2007. Then, after severely injuring one of his knees, Victor lost so much of his potential to actually become Mr Olympia. Since then, the question every time Victor competes is - is he able to compete in a better shape than before his injury and steal major titles? Most interestingly, he's training with Oscar Arden, who trained Kai Greene towards winning the past two Arnold Classics. Could Oscar be the trainer of Arnold Classic champions? That will be interesting to witness!

#2 Dexter Jackson

Again, I predict that Dexter will be disappointed with another second place finish. Dexter will most probably come into the show with an improved physique after training with trainer of champions, Charles Glass. However, having lost to Branch Warren for the last three contest they were in, I doubt that the tables will turn this time.

#1 Branch Warren

Finally, we're at number one. Branch Warren is on a roll in these recent years. Since shocking the world of bodybuilding by placing second to Jay Cutler at the 2009 Mr Olympia, Branch has been very consistent with his conditioning and placings. Thus, I predict that with his grainy striated muscles, Branch will be the 2011 Arnold Classic champ!

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