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2013 Arnold Classic Predictions

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2013 Arnold Classic Predictions

By Jaime Filer

The 25th annual Arnold Sports Festival is nearly upon us, and MUSCLE INSIDER magazine will be in Columbus doing live coverage of this exciting event! Show promoters Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer promise to deliver the greatest event in the contests history, and I just can’t wait to be part of it. With it being one of the two most prestigious shows in the IFBB circuit, the respect that comes from winning the Arnolds is almost at par with winning the Olympia.

How will things play out in Ohio when the judges’ scores are tabulated? In some of the categories, the fourth- and fifth-place spots could go either way. However, I put down the order I thought was most appropriate. For the Men’s category, I went a little more in depth and added some reasoning for my predictions and also took into account their recent contest placings.

Feel free to post on the Muscle Insider Facebook fans page, or tweet us at @MuscleInsider to argue, agree, or just share your thoughts! We always look forward to hearing from you.

With all that said, here are my predictions for who’ll place top five.

Ms. International
1. Iris Kyle
2. Yaxeni Oriquen
3. Debi Laszewski
4. Brigita Brezovac
5. Tazzie Colomb

Ms. Fitness International
1. Oksana Grishina
2. Tanji Johnson
3. Bethany Cisternino
4. Trish Warren
5. Regiane Da Silva

Ms. Figure International
1. Erin Stern
2. Candice Keene
3. Ava Cowan
4. Candice Lewis
5. Mallory Haldeman

Ms. Bikini International
1. Nicole Nagrani
2. Jaime Baird
3. Nathalia Melo
4. India Paulino
5. Yeshaira Robles

Arnold Classic
Note: This is just too close to call, really! I’m not even going to bother putting placings down; rather, I’ll just explore each competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.

Dexter Jackson: Dexter is coming off a solid, deserved win at the Masters Olympia in December. The guy absolutely nailed his conditioning and brought what some people are saying is his best condition as of late. Not only did the Blade snatch that win, but he also won a pro show in 2012 and placed fourth at the Big O in September. That’s a lot of momentum going into the Arnold. Dexter brings an almost unmatched package of shape, conditioning, symmetry, structure, and presentation. Playing into the momentum even more is the fact that he has three ASF titles under his belt and wants that fourth and record-breaking title even more. It would mean a lot for the legacy he leaves on this sport. Lastly, on a practical level, Dexter isn’t competing against anyone else who placed top five at the Olympia. Kind of bodes well for him, doesn’t it?

Toney Freeman: The X-man is close on the heels of the Blade. He placed second at the Masters O and seventh at the Olympia, so we know he’s breathing down Dexter’s neck. This guy is hungry! His previous ASF placings have included third, fourth, and fifth in the last three years. He’s looking to add a first or a second to that record. His problem is his conditioning; he has to be drier and crisper than he was at the O, while still staying hard (versus getting shredded and looking flat). He’s got an eight-inch height advantage over Dexter, and about 40 pounds. So if he dials himself in for this show, he will get noticed.

Ed Nunn: This will be Ed’s Arnold Classic debut, but he ended 2012 on a high note by placing fourth at the Masters O. He’s definitely a contender, with a tiny waist and great arms and legs (which is rare on a guy who’s 6'1"). While his limbs are his stronger suit, he needs to work on filling out his torso in general; that is to say, he needs more thickness in his chest and back, especially to help complement his tiny waist. If he can nail his conditioning, and bring a little more size to his trunk, we could see a top-three finish for him.

Ben Pakulski: The Pak-Man placed fourth at the Arnold last year and 11th at the O, but don’t let that Olympia placing confuse you. His symmetry has improved by leaps and bounds recently, and he beat Dexter at the ASF last year. Anything can happen. He’s brought up his upper body considerably, and though he may need a little more mass up there, he’s a lot closer to matching his lower body thickness than he was. So if he nails his condition and brings an impressive upper body, Ben will get in the top five for sure.

Johnnie Jackson: JoJ skipped the Masters O to focus on this show—let’s hope it pays off! 2012 was a good year for him, as he won his third pro show of his career and placed ninth at the Olympia. Not a bad finish. His legs need to get a little better (thick and lean) because he has an incredible upper body. His chest, back, and traps are almost unrivalled in terms of thickness and density. The guy is just a boulder.

Ronny Rockel: Ronny placed fifth at the Masters Olympia in December and 13th at the Olympia, so he’s also someone that can sneak into the top six at the Arnold Classic. His problem is mostly that his front is a lot leaner and fuller than his rear. But as we know, these shows are won and lost from the back (look at Jay versus Ronnie, and Phil versus Kai—it all came down to the rear poses). Ronny needs to shred his glutes and hams, as he’ll never be one of the biggest guys onstage, so he needs to bring conditioning that some of the big guys can’t bring.

Cedric McMillan: There is a really good chance this superheavyweight could pull off an upset and take the title of champion this year. He’s slated to place either first or second, and if you’ve been following his “Road to the Arnold” log online, you’ll see why. His freaky size combined with stellar conditioning makes him a force to be reckoned with. His rear double bicep shot is insane—chunks and slabs of dense muscle ripple off his back. In his newest pictures online, his conditioning is amazing. Cedric is working with Chris Aceto, who’s famous for bringing the best out in his competitors by thinking outside the box and pushing them to their limits.

Fouad Abiad: Another Canadian, and another tough guy to beat. He’s been posting pictures periodically, and it’s crazy to see how far he’s come from week to week and month to month. He looks bigger and fuller than he’s ever been, so if he can bring in conditioning to match, who’s to say how well he’ll place? What has been crazy about his prep is that he’s done it all on his own. He’s quoted as saying, “I have worked with Chad Nichols, Hany Rambod, and … Fakhri Mubara…. After working with all three … I can confidently say … I believed in myself enough to go ahead and do this prep on my own.” If this guy takes first place, or even a top-five spot, it will be a true testament to his willpower and knowledge.

Scott Welch’s Predictions For The Top Six

  1. Dexter Jackson (this will be his 4th Arnold Classic win)
  2. Cedric McMillan
  3. Toney Freeman
  4. Fouad Abiad
  5. Ben Pakulski
  6. Johnnie Jackson

Chad Hoskin’s Predictions For The Top Six

  1. Cedric McMillan
  2. Dexter “The Blade” Jackson
  3. Toney “The X-Man” Freeman
  4. Ben “The Pak Man” Pakulski
  5. Johnnie Jackson
  6. Fouad Abiad

Domenic Mauro’s Predictions For The Top Six
The 1st and 2nd spots are going to be a bit of a toss-up.

  1. Cedric McMillan
  2. Dexter Jackson (if he can match his Master's Olympia showing)
  3. Ben Pakulski
  4. Fouad Abiad
  5. Toney Freeman
  6. Johnnie Jackson