2022 Arnold Classic USA has an incredibly competitive lineup featuring a Mr. Olympia winner and three Arnold Classic champions. The 34th edition of the show will feature eight divisions — Men’s Open, Classic Physique, Men’s Physique, Pro Wheelchair, Fitness, Figure, Bikini, and Wellness. However, Men’s Open is the most hyped event of the show.
2022 Arnold Classic (AC) is scheduled for March 3-5, 2022, at Battelle Grand Ballroom of the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH.
Arnold Classic USA is considered the second biggest bodybuilding show after the prestigious Mr. Olympia. The winner of the AC USA becomes one of the top contenders for the Mr. O crown, held later that year.
Since the 2021 Arnold Classic winner, Nick Walker, is not competing at the 2022 edition of the show, we will not have a defending champion this time around. Walker is reportedly busy prepping for 2022 Mr. Olympia (set for Dec. 16-18 in Las Vegas, NV.).
2022 Arnold Classic Bodybuilding Roster
- Brandon Curry (USA)
- William Bonac (Netherlands)
- Maxx Charles (USA)
- Samson Dauda (United Kingdom)
- Regan Grimes (Canada)
- Steve Kuclo (USA)
- Fabio Giga Rezende (Brasil)
- Justin Rodriguez (USA)
- Brett Wilkin (USA)
Note: The Men’s Open division originally had 14 competitors. However, Cedic Mcmillan, Akim Williams, Rafael Brandao, Nathan De Asha, and Mohamed Shaaban withdrew their names from the contest.
The 2022 AC roster consists of three previous Arnold Classic USA winners — Brandon Curry (2019), William Bonac (2020), and Cedric McMillan (2017).
Winning the 2022 AC is a direct ticket to the 2022 Mr. Olympia showdown. This is a big deal for bodybuilders on the roster who are yet to qualify for Mr. O.
As much as we would like to see every bodybuilder win, that sadly cannot happen. Only one amongst the 10 bodybuilders to step on the 2022 AC stage will walk away with the trophy and prize cheque.
2022 Arnold Classic Men’s Open Predictions
Here are our predictions for the 2022 Arnold Classic USA:
6. Brett Wilkin
Brett ‘The Butcher’ Wilkin’s is a dark horse competing at the 2022 Arnold Classic. Wilkin’s competitive trajectory has been an interesting one. The 27-year-old won his IFBB Pro League card in 2018 in the Classic Physique division by winning the 2018 NPC Junior Nationals show. However, he never competed there as a pro. In 2019, he took part in Puerto Rico Pro as a 212 competitor and finished tenth. He improved his standing at the Toronto Pro Supershow a month later and took home sixth place. After that, Brett Wilkin took a long break from competition to prepare his Physique for the Open Pro division.
Since turning into an Open Pro competitor, Wilkin is looking like a force to reckon with. ‘The Butcher’ put the entire division on notice with his exemplary stage presence at the 2021 Chicago Pro despite losing to Hunter Labrada in the final face-off. He was placed second at the show. The recent Physique updates on Brett Wilkin’s social media accounts displayed a stage-ready Physique that is definitely worthy of giving anyone in the top five a run for their money.
Renowned bodybuilding coach and nutritionist Chad Nicholls even predicted that Wilkin could emerge as a serious threat to the 2022 Arnold Classic frontrunners Brandon Curry and William Bonac. The 2022 Arnold classic has a tough lineup, but fans and bodybuilding aficionados think Wilkin is a viable contender in Men’s Open division.
5. Justin Rodriguez
Justin “The Nightmare” Rodriguez won the 2021 Indy Pro by winning both the prejudging and final rounds with perfect scores.
Rodriguez earned direct qualification for the 2021 Mr. Olympia by winning the 2021 Indy Pro, and he would be looking to repeat the feat at 2022 Arnold Classic USA.
Justin Rodriguez’s 10 days out photos on Instagram put his dry, grainy, and peeled conditioning on display in its full glory and get him the fifth spot on our list. If he can match the size of the top four guys on our list on the D-day, he might have a chance of placing higher.
4. Steve Kuclo
Kuclo’s last pro show win came in 2019 when he won the Indy Pro.
“The Snake” made his AC debut in 2018. This is what his standing at the AC Columbus look like:
- 2018 AC: Fifth Place
- 2019 AC: Sixth Place
- 2020 AC: Fourth Place
- 2021 AC: Third Place
Except for that one drop in 2019, Kuclo has been on a steady rise at the AC. There is a lot on the line for “The Snake” at the 2022 AC. He didn’t qualify for the 2021 Mr. Olympia. Judging by his physique updates on Instagram, he is going all out this year to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
We have never seen better vascularity and conditioning from Steve Kuclo. His diced physique puts him at number four on our list. The “Kingsnake” has competed at 280 lbs in the past.
Moreover, he’ll probably give Regan Grimes a run for his money for a podium finish. We’ll go as far as to say that if he can dial in his conditioning without compromising on his size, a top-two finish might be on the cards for Kuclo at the 2022 AC.
3. Regan Grimes
Grimes looks in great shape going into the 2022 AC. Notably, he has already qualified for the 2022 Mr. Olympia by winning the 2022 KO Pro contest.
Regan Grimes is having a terrific 2022. He began the year with a second-place finish at the Legion Sports Fest behind Shaun Clarida.
Grimes quickly figured out what he lacked at the 2022 Legion Sports Fest and fixed it before the KO Pro. He is arguably in the best shape of his career and is carrying momentum going into the 2022 AC. We are expecting a third-place finish for Regan Grimes at 2022 Arnold Classic USA.
2. William Bonac
Bonac is a previous Arnold Classic champion. He won the show in 2020 and has since been considered a front runner to win the Mr. O title.
William Bonac is making a comeback at the 2022 AC after missing the 2021 edition of the show due to travel restrictions.
Bonac is old school when it comes to competing — meaning, he does not reveal a lot before a show. However, his 17 days out progress update photo on Instagram tells us that he’s close to his 2020 AC conditioning, which puts him at number two on our list.
1. Brandon Curry
Brandon Curry is the only Mr. Olympia champ on the 2022 AC roster. He won the Arnold Classic in 2019 and conquered the Mr. Olympia crown the same year.
Curry shared his recent physique updates on his Instagram page — something he has never done during his previous preps. Curry has worked on his legs for this showdown and looks in peak conditioning, making him our top pick to win the 2022 Arnold Classic USA.
There is a rivalry brewing between Curry and Bonac. Curry beat Bonac at the 2019 AC and Mr. O to take home the gold. Additionally, Bonac is looking to bounce back from a sixth-place finish at the 2021 Mr. O and still hasn’t qualified for the 2022 Mr. Olympia. Expect “The Conqueror” to go full throttle at the AC stage on March 4-5, 2022.
2022 Arnold Classic Point Awards
Since the AC USA is a Tier 1 show, the second through fifth-place finishers of the show earn the following points:
- 2nd – 10 points
- 3rd – 9 points
- 4th – 8 points
- 5th – 7 points
2022 Mr. Olympia Qualified Bodybuilders
As of Feb. 24, 2022, here is the list of bodybuilders qualified to compete at the 2022 Mr. Olympia:
- Nick Walker (USA)
- Nathan De Asha (UK)
- Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay (Egypt)
- Brandon Curry (USA)
- Hadi Choopan (Iran)
- Hunter Labrada (USA)
- Shaun Clarida (USA)
- Regan Grimes (Canada)
- Samson Dauda (UK)
- Rafael Brandao (Brazil)
- Angel Calderon Frias (Spain)
- Joel Thomas (USA)
2022 Arnold Classic Men’s Open Bodybuilding Schedule
- Prejudging — Friday, Mar 04: 7:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m (Columbus Convention Center, Battelle Grand)
- Finals — Saturday, Mar 05: 7:00 p.m.-10:00 .p.m (Columbus Convention Center, Battelle Grand)
* Times are in Eastern Standard Time (EST)
For more information, tickets, and access to the 2022 Arnold Classic pay-per-view, go to arnoldsportsfestival.com.
Stay tuned to Fitness Volt for the 2022 Arnold Classic latest updates and coverage.
Featured and other images courtesy of athlete’s Instagram.
Catch full coverage of the 2023 Arnold Classic, including pre-judging, event recaps, analysis, and final and full results at our Arnold Classic coverage hub: FitnessVolt.com/arnold-classic
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