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Rafael Brandao Wins 2022 Arnold Classic South America

Rafael Brandao went to the Arnold Classic South America contest with hopes of becoming the first home country competitor to win the title, and he accomplished that goal on April 30th in San Paulo, Brazil. It wasn’t without a fight, though. Vitro Hugo Boff came to play as well, and he was actually leading on the judges' scorecards after prejudging. Brandao had to dig deep to pull out the victory, but he would in fact be on center stage at the end of the contest. The top five are below.

1st - Rafael Brandao

2nd - Vitor Hugo Boff

3rd - Thiago Lens Adao

4th - William Martins

5th - Emir Omeragic

This is Brandao’s second career victory. His first came at the Romania Muscle Fest Pro in 2021. He actually secured a 2022 Olympia qualification at that contest, so he didn’t need to win this contest for that reason. However, he had made it known that this title was one that he wanted desperately.

Both Boff and third place finisher Thiago Lens Adao were pleasant surprises at this contest. Both men looked great in their own rights, and should be proud of what they were able to do in Sao Paulo. Not only did Boff push Brandao for the victory, but Adao held off two talented bodybuilders in the form of William Martins and Emir Omeragic to claim third place. He was a surprise at this contest, but his potential is well-known now.

Conspicuous by his absence in prejudging was Sibusiso Kotelo. There were high hopes for him at this show based on what he and his coach, Jack Lotter, were posting. However, Lotter shared on Instagram that there was miscommunication about what time he was supposed to be at prejudging. As a result, Kotelo didn’t arrive until the round was nearly over. He was allowed to be onstage during the finals, but the scorecards showed that he was disqualified with no score or placing.

As we enter the month of May, there are two contests featuring the men’s open division. The Indy Pro will be held on May 14thin Indianapolis, IN. Following that will be the prestigious New York Pro, which will return to New York after a two-year move to Tampa, FL on May 21st in White Plains, NY.

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*© Images courtesy of Instagram