Rising bodybuilder Stephane Matala is determined to make a statement when he takes to the stage in July. In a recent The Menace Podcast, Dennis James and Milos Sarcev discussed the Classic Physique division and how Matala will fare should he compete against top-tier Olympia talent, such as four-time winner, Chris Bumstead.
“You know how it is always. You can look great standing by yourself. We have to see him stand next to these guys to really compare him,” shared Dennis James.
Since Classic Physique’s inception, the category has been talent-rich and extremely competitive. The division’s popularity only grew year-to-year and the same can be said for the skill level of the participants. Over the last four years, Chris Bumstead has worn the crown after taking the honor from two-time Classic Physique Olympia Breon Ansley in 2019.
In his latest title defense, Bumstead managed to defend his throne against hungry bodybuilders like 2023 Arnold Classic champion Ramon Queiroz and third-place 2022 Olympia finisher Urs Kalecinski, who has since bulked to 275 pounds in an effort to dethrone the champ in November.
Given Bumstead’s continued dominance, fans are curious what it would take to overthrow such a formidable champion. And while no competitor has found a winning recipe, the community is rapidly getting behind a new Classic Physique contender: Stephane Matala.
Known as ‘Mr. Unchained’ on Instagram, Matala continues to captivate fans with a jaw-dropping physique. He first began his bodybuilding career by entering a number of local contests. Eventually, he took on the Musclemania Paris Junior Champion competition, where he impressed fans in the Men’s Physique category.
He’s showcased progress photos and videos in preparation for his Classic Physique splash at the upcoming 2023 Mr. Big Evolution Pro Portugal. Given his lines, condition, shape, and striations, the community is highly confident in his chances ahead of the show.
“The Dude Looks Fuc**ng Ridiculous,” – Dennis James & Milos Sarcev Debate Stephane Matala’s Potential
According to Milos Sarcev, he’s never seen a chest as striated as Stephane Matala’s
“Let me ask you something else guys, did you guys see that Classic guy that’s out there training in Dubai, that brother, that black guy. What’s his name, Stephane Matala,” said Dennis James.
“Oh, oh, holy shit. Yeah, I don’t know his name,” said Milos Sarcev.
“That dude hasn’t even been on stage yet and he has a huge following on Instagram. I don’t know if it’s just the videos or the pictures, the dude looks fuc**ng ridiculous,” added James
I’ve seen him pose next to Andrew Jacked,” added Sarcev. “That puts it in perspective man. Probably [doing Portugal], the guy is – I’ve never seen a striated chest like this in my life.”
Dennis James believes Matala possesses an ‘old school bodybuilding look’ and said he was impressed with his lack of scar tissue from steroid injections. After, Sarvev suggested Stephane work on his front double biceps pose.
“He’s clean, he’s clean, all his muscles are clean. The striations are still there, you can see it’s not all shot up with scar tissue everywhere. He’s clean. Chris you know what I’m talking about, you see the striations in the shoulders, you see stuff that you don’t see on the guys anymore. And full and round,” said Dennis James. “Stephane, crazy. I see old school bodybuilding when I see this guy. You’re absolutely right Don. With the striations in his shoulders, all the way, it’s just good to see there’s still people out there.”
“I think the front double biceps he doesn’t show correctly. There’s more to it. It doesn’t pop,” Milos Sarcev explained. “This is as good as it gets. Oh my God.”
Milos Sarcev Says Chris Bumstead Has Better Structure But Stephane Matala Beats Him ‘Muscle for Muscle’
Sarcev believes Bumstead would defeat Matala in a battle right now. However, he agreed with Dennis and Chris Cormier that he’s a future threat to the reigning champion.
“When we talk about Classic Physique, major thing is structure. Like Chris Bumstead when you compare him muscle for muscle with this guy, would lose right? But structure is so dominant, then, once it’s only front double biceps, back double biceps, serves that crazy v-taper, that Chris is so goddamn good [at] then his side chest is excellent, this guy’s [Stephane] side chest is excellent. I think Chris has more detail through the hamstring glutes tie ins, so there is still level that I think Chris could beat him now. If this guy gets expanded and gets a little bit more wider and creates that v-taper illusion…” said Sarcev.
“I just see a picture of him standing next to Mike Sommerfeld. I guess they were training together. But they were posing next to each other, now look at the size difference, and Mike is not the biggest guy.”
Dennis James is so confident in Stephane’s chances he believes he’ll earn a qualification to the 2023 Mr. Olympia show.
“Like I said, the condition that this guy brings, and if he brings that to the stage, I think he’s going to do very well. I think he will qualify for the Olympia this year. And I think because of his fanbase, he has a huge fanbase, I think because of his fanbase he won’t get overlooked,” Dennis James shared.
Maintaining health and longevity as a bodybuilding pro is no easy feat. It takes considerable attention to measures such as diet, supplementation, and training. When Bumstead first began his journey in the sport, he was thankful for guidance from his brother-in-law and Men’s Open competitor Iain Valliere. In a recent Straight Outta the Lair Podcast, Bumstead said Valliere helped him prevent long-lasting damage to his physique from unnecessary steroids.
While there is mystery surrounding Stephane Matala, fans will have a clear idea of his potential when he competes next month. Should he claim victory at the 2023 Mr. Big Evolution Pro Portugal, he’ll have a shot at competing against Bumstead in November.