Samir Bannout is back to assess some of the frontrunners heading into the Arnold Classic, taking place March 2-5, in Columbus, Ohio. Speaking on the latest Muscle Maturity Podcast, Bannout predicted the top three finishers for the event and discussed Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay‘s recent physique update.
“He looks good, but I don’t see any noticeable changes, personally,” Samir Bannout shared.
There have been significant changes to the 2023 Arnold Classic roster since last month. When the final competitor’s list was released in January, bodybuilders Blessing Awodibu and Charles Griffen withdrew from the competition. At the time, zero top-five finishers from last year’s Olympia were slated to compete in Ohio. However, that quickly changed when the Arnold Sports promoters decided to up the prize money for the Open winner to $300,000.
As a result of the added incentive, third-place 2022 Olympia finisher Nick Walker joined the lineup. Shortly thereafter, Andrew Jacked and Patrick Moore announced their respective entries. While fans assumed Big Ramy would take time off following his title loss in fifth place, he also signed up to compete next month.
To rejuvenate his body, Ramy received stem cell therapy intravenously. The former two-time champ shared a peculiar physique update days ago, showing off his seemingly improved back, though chose not to perform any bodybuilding poses. With the Arnold Classic approaching, Bannout examined the competition and offered his top three predictions.
Samir Bannout Doesn’t See ‘Huge Difference’ in Ramy, Says He’d Put His Money on ‘Complete’ Samson Dauda
Despite Ramy’s recent update, Samir Bannout is not convinced he’s made meaningful progress since his last performance at Olympia.
“Looking at the back, I mean… he looks — I don’t see major changes really as of now. Then again, this light is a little bit brighter for some reason,” says Samir Bannout. “Maybe it’s [the strange update with no poses] something to activate the glute muscles so they look more detailed, you see what I’m saying.”
“He looks pretty good. I mean, he looks pretty good. I don’t see a huge difference,” says Bannout. “Well, what is it the main reason, the stem cells are going to help him overall, but I think if there’s paralysis in certain areas… I don’t know, could it really activate the area where there’s kind of – we talked about it earlier.”
After witnessing Samson Dauda in videos, Bannout believes he wins the 2023 Arnold Classic if he comes in “ultra-shredded.”
“I’ll be honest with you. I saw a few videos of Samson and he was really impressive. He looked good. He looks pretty complete for a big boy. I think if he’s 100%, I would put my money on him if he is ultra-shredded. I saw also Nick Walker looks better.”
“I’m impressed with Samson’s physique honestly. I just love the way he’s put together properly. If we get that quality, you know that onion skin, honestly, he has an advantage. No disrespect to anybody else. I like Nick; he’s improving, but man Samson’s body, I’m heavily impressed by his overall.”
In Bannout’s opinion, Samson Dauda defeats everyone at the Arnold if his conditioning is equal to his competition.
“Okay, if everyone is in top condition, Samson will win. If everyone is the same quality, let’s say everyone is 24-carrot even everyone is 18-carrot – the same level of quality, I think Samson has the edge. Why? Samson has the edge based on the overall flow and the balance but I’d like to see him a little bit more ripped.
As of now, I see Nick Walker looking awesome and based on what he did at Olympia, he was the top three… so he’s probably the favorite. But again, things can change. And hopefully the judges will go accordingly, not going, ‘oh, Nick was third, let’s give him first.’ I would just go by how it looks by these minutes.”
Bannout’s Top 3 for 2023 Arnold Classic
According to Bannout, he believes Samson Dauda’s flow and balance will guide him to his first Arnold victory next month.
- Samson Dauda — Winner
- Nick Walker — Second Place
- Andrew Jacked — Third Place
“These are my top three. I would say Samson, if he’s ready, Nick, and then Andrew. And Andrew also has great genetics too. Don’t forget. Walker is incredible but at the same time, he’s not as blessed genetically. Let’s be honest. I like Nick. I’ve been talking positively about him. Genetically, it’s Samson and Andrew Jacked – the flow, the overall flow,” says Samir Bannout.
Before finishing the conversation, Bannout highlighted the genetic differences between athletes like Samson and Andrew versus Nick Walker.
“I love all the guys; may the best man win. But looking at it, looking at the flow, the balance, the forearms, biceps, triceps, the small waist, and the back and the legs and the diamond calves, this guy has it all. I don’t know him, I’ve never met him, but this is my eyes telling me the truth. I’m sure Andrew Jacked is a freak. I saw him standing in the middle of Olympia, he wasn’t really ready, but it was very impressive. Very impressive.”
“Just look at his overall flow, for me, you’re right, I mean, his shoulders and arms are a little bit too big for his back. But I like his body, I like his body,” said Samir Bannout. “I don’t know, I like his back too.”
Samir Bannout isn’t the only bodybuilding veteran backing Samson Dauda to win. His trainer, guru Milos Sarcev is confident in his pupil ahead of the contest. When he appeared on The Menace podcast with Dennis James, Sarcev said if judges favor shape in Ohio, Samson will handily win the show. Meanwhile, Dennis James chose Ramy to win with Chris Cormier extending his support for Nick Walker.
There are less than three weeks until the second biggest bodybuilding contest in the world. Time will tell if Samson’s shape and flow will be enough to overwhelm the other contenders on stage.