It’s just about that time for the Arnold Classic which is always highly anticipated seeing as it is the second biggest competition event right behind the Olympia. But there will be some serious competition this year from each division, although we’re going to break down the Open division today with our predictions and provide the lineups for the remaining.
It’s important to note that last year’s Arnold Classic champion (and current Mr. Olympia) Brandon Curry will not be participating.
Here are our top 5 picks from 1-5 and a prediction of the remaining placings, plus a breakdown of all Open competitors.
Arnold Classic Men’s Open Bodybuilding 15 Competitors:
1. Big Ramy – Mamdouh Ellsbiay
Big Ramy’s return is the biggest subject of discussion for the 2020 Arnold Classic after missing out on the 2019 season following a disappointing 6th place finish at the 2018 Mr. Olympia competition. But he has been looking phenomenal recently (although it doesn’t mean anything until the day of the show).
He certainly has what it takes though and we think if he comes in with the same conditioning he had in 2017 when he was the runner-up at the Olympia to Phil Heath; he could definitely win this show. So, he’s our pick for the 2020 Arnold Classic.
2. William Bonac
William Bonac, on the other hand, has improved his placing nearly every year at the Olympia earning his best finish last year as the runner-up to Brandon Curry. The Ghana native won the Arnold Classic in 2018 which was his first appearance at the big event. Although he placed second behind Brandon Curry at the 2019 Arnold Classic before going on to win the Arnold Classic Australia.
Bonac had a rough 2019 of his own though, parting ways with his coach Neil Hill and the two definitely exchanged some words. But he managed to place 2nd at the 2019 Olympia without Hill.
He’s definitely a favorite to win this year as it’s apparent he just continues to get better with time. Although, the competition will surely give him a run for his money especially with Big Ramy and Dexter Jackson in the mix.
We have him coming in 2nd at this show.
3. Dexter Jackson
‘The Blade’ Dexter Jackson really needs to introduction. After all, he is the all-time king of the Arnold Classic Ohio competition having won it a record 5 times (2005, 2006, 2008, 2013 and 2015). He’s also the winningest bodybuilder in the sport’s history and 2008 Mr. Olympia champion.
And what’s just as impressive, is that he was able to place 4th at the 2019 Olympia at the age of 50 and has never placed lower than 9th at the Olympia since his first appearance in 1999. But he recently announced that the 2020 Mr. Olympia contest will be his last competition. He also plans to compete at the Arnold Classic Australia and Brazil this year.
We think he’ll place 3rd at the 2020 Arnold Classic.
4. Cedric McMillan
Cedric McMillan has the genetics to be the perfect bodybuilder especially with a nickname like ‘The One’. And while he hasn’t quite been able to nail the conditioning to make him an Olympia contender, McMillan was able to win the 2017 Arnold Classic and tie his best finish at the Olympia where he came in 7th place after getting a special invite due to his military service.
But he definitely had a great 2019 overall winning both the FitParade Pro and Romania Muscle Fest Pro. It definitely seems like he has made some necessary improvements but the 2020 Arnold Classic will be the real test.
We’d definitely predict a 4th place finish for him though.
5. Steve Kuclo
Steve ‘King Snake’ Kuclo definitely has what it takes to move up the ranks and although he has had his ups and downs regarding competition, he did place 6th at the 2019 Olympia improving four spots from the previous year (although the competition definitely wasn’t as fierce last year). He also won the 2019 Indy Pro but let’s see how he fairs in 2020.
A 5th place finish is very possible for Kuclo.
These are the remaining 10 predictions…
Patrick Moore was one of the biggest surprises at the 2019 Mr. Olympia competition, bringing an amazing package with perfect conditioning which earned him a 10th place finish in his first appearance. He was even in the discussion of future Mr. Olympias and we sure hope the newcomer from Texas lives up to expectations.
He’s looking quite impressive ahead of the Arnold Classic though and he could take 6th if he brings good conditioning.
Sergio Oliva Jr.
Sergio Oliva Jr. (son of legendary 3x Mr. Olympia Sergio Oliva) certainly has the genetics to be a top guy and he has pretty training pretty hard for the Arnold Classic because he’ll definitely need to come in at his best to redeem himself after a 16th place finish at the 2018 Mr. Olympia competition.
He’s definitely confident and we think he’ll come in looking to do some damage but we haven’t seen him compete enough to really make a good prediction although based on recent progress we’d say 7th.
Nathan De Asha
Nathan De Asha is no stranger to talking trash about his fellow competitors but that’s really the least of worries. Last year, De Asha was charged with steroid distribution and he admitted to the dealings but was let off the hook with no jail time. This incident caused him to miss the 2019 Olympia but he still had a great year nonetheless.
He won the 2019 British Grand Prix Pro and Monsterzym Pro. But he also took second at the Vancouver Pro, Yamamoto Cup Pro, and FitParade Pro. He placed top 8 at the 2017 and 2018 Olympia too so we expect him to crack the top ten at the Arnold and 8th seems like a good spot. Although he could be interchangeable with Akim.
Akim Williams placed 9th at the 2019 Mr. Olympia competition and the Arnold Classic. But he has tons of potential and is an absolute freak of nature, so we think 6th is definitely not out of reach for him if he brings excellent conditioning to the show.
The Frenchman Lionel Beyeke is large and freaky but his lack of perfect conditioning has unfortunately been his downfall. Beyeke’s best performance at the Arnold Classic was in 2017 when he placed 4th and he has placed 10th at the Olympia on a few occasions. But other than that, he hasn’t really been considered a favorite in any of the most recent shows.
Beyeke had a rough 2019, missing out on the Arnold Classic due to a passport issue, then he was detained at the airport on his way to compete at the Arnold Classic Brazil after his coach Eric Favre was arrested for steroid trafficking.
But despite all of this, he remains optimistic about the future. We think a 9th place finish could be in his future.
Josh Lenartowics has to be one of the toughest guys around. In 2019 he learned that he’d need surgery for a brain tumor before the Olympia of which he was supposed to compete in. Then he needed a second surgery due to complications from the first.
So it definitely hasn’t been easy for him but he has apparently bounced back just in time for the 2020 Arnold Classic. Lenartowicz placed 3rd at the 2016 Arnold Classic and 9th at the Olympia in 2016 and 2017 so he’s definitely a top ten guy. He won the 2019 Big Man Weekend Pro.
If he can bring what he usually does, 10th is where we’d put Lenartowicz based on his 8th place finish last year.
Morgan Aste will certainly be the tallest guy on stage at 6’4 and he weighs 300+ pounds. But this is going to be an exciting competition for the French bodybuilder and 2x Strongman champion back in his home country. Aste qualified for this year’s competition by winning the 2019 Arnold Classic Amateur and he’ll be looking to make a statement no doubt.
We think 12th could be in the books for Aste.
Another legend, Victor Martinez is a former Arnold Classic champion himself (2007) and many people believed he should have won the 2007 Mr. Olympia competition as well, ahead of Jay Cutler. Martinez placed 10th at last year’s Arnold Classic and it’ll be awesome to have him at this year’s Arnold Classic.
But there will be some very tough competition for him and we’re not sure he could place in the top 10 again although 13th may be a good spot.
When Maxx Charles turned Pro in 2013 he was promising although he hasn’t quite been able to dial-in enough to crack the top 10 at the Olympia. But he did place 3rd at the 2017 Arnold Classic and in 2018 he won the Romania Muscle Fest Pro.
So, we’re not sure what to expect from him at the Arnold Classic. But we’d give him 14th.
Johnnie Jackson turned Pro back in 2002 and he was known for having impressive strength as well as huge traps. But he too could not seem to make the top 10 at the Olympia although his best finish at the Arnold was 4th in 2013. He did, however, take first at the 2017 Arnold Classic Africa.
But the 2020 Arnold Classic will mark his return to competition and it’ll be interesting to see what he brings to the stage.
Here are the competitor lists for the remaining divisions and we’ll be sure to break down each one as the 2020 Arnold Classic approaches.
Classic Physique (13)
Men’s Physique (12)
Yasser Fernando Chala Blandon
Fitness International (13)
Physique International (14)
Natalia Abraham Coelho
Bikini International (17)
Etila Santiago Santos
Figure International (17)
Jessica Reyes Padilla
Arnold Pro Wheelchair (9)