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2017 Vancouver Pro Predictions - Who'll take the West Coast title

Branden Liezert


Contest Coverage sponsored by BPI sports




This year’s IFBB Vancouver Pro is wide-open for the taking. There are multiple competitors that could grab the win if they show up shredded, but there are few that truly nail their condition on game-day, let alone the few minutes they are on stage for prejudging and finals. With nearly 20 competitors, this has all of the makings for an interesting mid-season IFBB pro show with great overall talent.

1. Michael Lockett

Last week’s winner in Chicago should be the odds-on favourite to repeat in Vancouver. He isn’t guaranteed to win though, he will need to display at least equal conditioning to hold off the likes of Kevin Jordan, Regan Grimes, Luke Sandow and others. Lockett was dry, grainy and hard in Chicago with an almost skinless look to his physique. He’s made a big jump in the past 18 months and has finally started to tap into his total potential. I think he’s still improving too. Lockett is usually very good in terms of conditioning, so it’s hard to bet against a similar or better version of Lockett this weekend in Vancouver especially with Chicago runner-up Luis Rodriguez absent from this lineup.

​2. Fred Smalls

I thought Fred Small was hugely overlooked in Chicago last week. After a long layoff, Smalls came into Chicago with a more aesthetic package and I thought it suited his structure more than previous fuller versions. Smalls has been inconsistent with his conditioning in the past, so don’t be surprised if he is a few places lower than this – but he definitely amasses the potential for even an upset victory.

3. Kevin Jordan

Watching this guy improve and progress year after year has made me a fan. In addition to being a social media superstar, Jordan is knocking on the door to be an IFBB bodybuilding superstar. His conditioning, muscle-maturity and presentation has improved, but he’ll need to bring up his legs to reach that elusive top-tier. He’ll be in the first callout, and can realistically be anywhere from 1st-5th.

4. Regan Grimes

Grimes made an impressive top-five finish in a tough lineup in Chicago for his IFBB pro debut. Grimes is a bodybuilder I’ve been a fan of since seeing him take home the overall in Mississauga at the OPA Luchka O’brien show at few years ago. Last week I felt like he faded a little through prejudging and it may have cost him a spot. He’s got a lot of potential and clearly enjoys his own grind. Look for him to improve on his placing from last week as he tries to earn his first IFBB Pro victory on home turf.

5. Luke Sandoe

Sandoe made a pretty good impression earlier this year at his pro debut in Columbus, Ohio. He was able to compare well against some of the IFBB’s stars at the Arnold Classic, but was a little soft from behind. Sandoe definitely has the potential to win this show if he is at 100% percent, but a recent hamstring injury might hinder that.

6. Branden Ray

Ray is definitely the X-factor in this show. If he comes into this show having reached his full potential, everybody in this show is in trouble. The big issue is that Ray has yet to nail his condition. Under coach Patrick Tour he has shown progress, but is still searching for his lights-out on-stage package. I would be willing to bet Ray lands no higher than 5th place, but no lower than 8th.

7. Josh Wade

Wade was another competitor that I felt was greatly overlooked last week in Chicago. He absolutely nailed his condition. He brought a grainy look to Chi-town, but only walked home with a 6th place finish. Wade is a good bodybuilder, but still needs to add some size to a few body parts. If those ahead of him on this list show up “off”, he could definitely leap-frog competitors into the top-three.

8. Henri Pierre Ano

For those that favour the aesthetic physique, this competitor is for you. The tag on Ano is that he has all the parts, but just lacks the bang-on conditioning at shows. He has wide flaring lats, a full chest and great arms that make your eyes gravitate to him in a callout, but he just lacks the conditioning to get rewarded. He looked good in Chicago last week, but still needs to sharpen up to make it into the first callout.




8. Eddie Bracamontes

Bracamontes is making a round to Vancouver in search of qualification points this weekend. He has a great structure to work upon and is steadily improving his conditioning. If Bracamontes shows up like he did in California earlier this season, he could actually fight for a top-five spot. It is much more likely that he ends up higher than this prediction than lower in my opinion.

7. Dusty Hanshaw

One of the strongest bodybuilding athletes in the world, Hanshaw showed his best ever package to date in Chicago. The unfortunate thing for Hanshaw is that his structure works against him. He has a few poses that he looks great in, but he also has some that he will look weak in when compared to top IFBB Pros. I’m a huge fan of Dusty, but I don’t see him working his way into the first-callout this time out.

8. Paulo Almeida

Almeida brought a super sharp version of his physique to Chicago last week, but lost a lot of fullness in the process. He has a physique that absolutely needs to be sinew-splittingly full on-stage to gain an advantage against top-tier pros. He’s only been a pro for a few years now and will need to develop a few body parts to make a big splash.

9. Tomas Kaspar

Kaspar caught my eye in a deeper callout in Chicago last week. He has a massive amount of muscle, but struggles with conditioning. He could definitely break into the top-ten here if his conditioning improves over the last seven days. There isn’t enough time to sharpen up and challenge the top-callout though.

10. Grigori Atoyan

Atoyan is good bodybuilder that could break into the top-five at smaller shows with weaker lineups. This weekend the competition is just too deep for him to crack the top callout with his current physique. Look for him to try and work through the competition ahead of him during callouts and comparisons.


11. Michael Cipriani

There was a bit of hype surrounding this CBBF Nationals graduate in his first few IFBB pro competitions, and rightfully so. Cipriani does have a few body parts that make you stare and only extremely limited weak points. I think the hype is dying off though due to lack of IFBB pro-level conditioning and stage presentation. A markedly improved Cipriani could be dangerous in the second callout, but still needs time before cracking the top-five in a lineup like this.

12. Luca Pennazzato

Pennazzato will have a tough time trying to get through a lineup with this much depth. He does have a ton of muscle, but he isn’t necessarily put together incredibly aesthetically. Pennazzato carries so much muscle that you can’t ignore him, but unless he has considerably improved since his last showing he will be on the outside looking in.