2022 Arnold Classic Analysis: An Epic Face-Off Between Brandon Curry & William Bonac

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2022 Arnold Classic: William Bonac and Brandon Curry stand tall as they were shuffled in with impressive looking Justin Rodriguez and Steve Kuclo

Friday night held the Men’s Open pre-judging event, giving the fans a first look at the top competitors with their full stage-ready physiques. Despite this year’s lineup suffering from many drop-outs, there were still some powerful athletes on the stage. Most notable were Brandon Curry and William Bonac – two former Arnold Classic champions who have had a friendly rivalry throughout most of their career. After a bit of a shuffling by the judges during the final callout – it appears that Brandon Curry and William Bonac are the ones battling for first place going into the 2022 Arnold Classic finals tonight.

Last night we witness the finals for the Fitness International, Figure International, and Classic Physique divisions. We also saw the Men’s Open pre-judging – which is a bit of a different schedule than the typical Arnold Classic. Usually, the Men’s Open pre-judging and finals both take place on the same day. This change, while seemingly insignificant, can have a huge impact. The competitors now have a full 24 hours to adjust their physiques based on the pre-judging results.

Going into the show, Brandon Curry and William Bonac were favorites to win the show. Both have been Arnold Classic champions before. Not only that, but Brandon Curry is a former Mr. Olympia champion – and landed second place at the Mr. Olympia less than a year ago. Bonac, on the other hand, landed sixth place at the Mr. Olympia – so it was clear he had some shaping up to do leading into the show.

Many fans also had their eye on newcomer Brett Wilkin, who was showing truly impressive physique updates on social media leading into the show. Fans also hyped Steve Kuclo, who has been consistently improving over the past two years, and Justin Rodriguez, who has been a worthy top competitor in recent years as well. Both did not disappoint – tho Wilkin seems to still have some dues to pay as he rises up in the sport.

Regan Grimes was also heavily hyped heading into the show due to his announcement last year that he was training with Milos Sarcev. Though he ultimately did not make it into the final top 4 callout by the judges. It seems that there might still be some tweaking he has to do as he continues into the 2022 bodybuilding season.

The 2022 Arnold Classic originally had 14 contestants set for the Men’s Open division. But there were many drop outs due to a variety of reasons. Cedric McMillan, Akim Williams, Rafael Brandao, Mohamed Shaaban and Nathan De Asha all eventually dropped out of the competition. In addition to this, defending champion Nick Walker did not decide to do the Arnold Classic this year – leaving the doors open for a new champion this year.

Fifth Callout

Breaking down the 2022 Arnold Classic Men’s Open pre-judging

The first callout started strong with most fan favorites making it into the lineup. Usually, the first callout is the judges first impression picks for the top spots. But now they need to see these athletes side by side – which can significantly change the scores and decisions of the judges.

The first callout included Brandon Curry, William Bonac, Brett Wilkin, Steve Kuclo, Justin Rodriguez, and Samson Dauda. True to form, head judge Steve Weinberger had some fun shuffling these guys around during the callout. Making it initially hard for the audiences and the athletes themselves to know who was being favored. Weinberger seems to enjoy this tactic to keep the athletes on their toes – and to bring some excitement and tension for the fans watching.

Notably, Regan Grimes did not make his way into the first callout. This may be a disappointment to fans who were running high after his previous pro win and his impressive updates on social media with his coach Milos Sarcev.

By the time we got to the final callout – showcasing what is likely the top four placings for the Men’s Open division, we had cut the fat down to Brandon Curry, Steve Kuclo, William Bonac, and Justin Rodriguez.

Despite both Samson Dauda and Brett Wilkin looking strong – they seem to be falling closer to the fifth and sixth positions. During a later callout, both Dauda and Wilkin were put side by side in a callout featuring only the two of them. This seemed to be the judges deciding who would be the best pick for fifth and sixth place.

Again, during the final callout, Steve Weinberger shuffled each and every one of the top 4 into the center position. But by the end of the callout, we saw William Bonac and Brandon Curry square center. Over all of their callouts across the pre-judging, both Bonac and Curry seemed to be in the center the most – signaling their dominance.

Beyond their actual placement in the callouts, it was clear that Brandon Curry and William Bonac were bringing stellar physiques worthy of the top spots. Bonac, in particular, improved immensely since we last saw him at the Mr. Olympia 2021. Curry maintained his usual consistency that earned him a previous Mr. Olympia win and constant top placings.

2022 Arnold Classic Men’s Open Callout Report

First Callout

  • Brett Wilkin
  • Steve Kuclo
  • Brandon Curry
  • Justin Rodriguez
  • William Bonac
  • Samson Dauda

Second Callout

  • Fabio Giga Rezende
  • Maxx Charles
  • Samson Dauda
  • Brett Wilkin
  • Regan Grimes

Third Callout

  • Brandon Curry
  • Steve Kuclo
  • William Bonac
  • Justin Rodriguez

Fourth Callout

  • Samson Dauda
  • Brett Wilkin

Final Callout

  • Justin Rodriguez
  • William Bonac
  • Brandon Curry
  • Steve Kuclo

2022 Arnold Classic Final Results

As we mentioned at the top, a lot can change between the pre-judging and the finals. With a full 24 hours between the two rounds, the competitors can reflect on their performance during pre-judging and the judges’ reactions. The lead up into the finals presents an opportunity for final tweaks – and for dominant competitors to possibly make a misstep knocking them down. Only time will tell.

The 2022 Arnold Classic Day 2 finals are scheduled for Saturday, Mar. 5th, 2022, from 7:00 pm-10:00 pm. 

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