2007 Arnold Preview - Bob Fires Off A Competitor Breakdown And Prediction!

O.K, guys... here my official breakdown of the Arnold! Get the latest on who is competing and how I feel they will do. Includes predictions and who will get a special invite.

Chick's Pick's

O.K, guys... here it is, take it to the bank - use it to win $500 from the Bodybuilding.com web cast, "You pick the top 10" contest... My official breakdown of the Arnold!

In Alphabetical Order:

Gustavo Badell:

    Gus is without question, one of the top 5 contenders. What he needs to do is go back to the formula that brought him to the top 3 of the Olympia and a victory over Ronnie Coleman in the much criticized "Challenge round".

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Badell, Challege Round Winner.
View More Pics From The 2005 Olympia Here.

    Dropping out of the top 5 at the '06 Olympia, he needs to keep his weight between 230-235 in order to have the conditioning and waistline necessary to be a contender for the title.

Gustavo Gustavo Gustavo
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Gustavo Badell.
View More Pics From The 2006 Olympia Here.

Mark Dugdale:

    Fresh off his impressive runner-up finish at the season opener (2007 Iron Man Pro) Mark is every bit the consummate professional. His strength is that he has no real strengths... or weaknesses for that matter.

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Mark Dugdale.
View More Pics Of Mark Dugdale From Pre-Judging Here.
View More Pics Of Mark Dugdale From Finals Here.
View More Pics Of Mark Dugdale From The Press Conference Here.

    It's his blend of balance and symmetry, combined with the ability to come in condition that makes Mark the very definition of the "Total package". The drawback will be his lack of width, and giving up substantial size in a packed line-up.

Mark Dugdale.

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Toney Freeman:

    The "X-Man" has had one of the most impressive runs over the last 6 months of ANY bodybuilder on the circuit. His first win in Texas at the '06 Europa Pro, was followed by a very impressive 7th place in his Olympia debut. 2007 would start off with his second title in a blowout at the '07 Iron Man Pro.

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Toney Freeman.
View More Pics Of Toney Freeman From Pre-Judging Here.
View More Pics Of Toney Freeman From Finals Here.
View More Pics Of Toney Freeman From The Press Conference Here.

Toney Freeman.

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    Toney is looking to go 4 for 4 in his first leg of the season... Iron Man Pro-check! Sacramento Pro-Check. ASC- next week, Australia Pro to follow. There is little doubt in my mind that by the time you're reading this, he will be 2 for 2 with a victory at the Sac Pro... but I'm afraid that's where the streak stops.

    Toney will be the biggest man on the stage, but needs to get by a few guys that just placed ahead of him at the Olympia. Top 5 for sure at the ASC. Never count the X-Man out... this guy plays to win.

Marcus Haley:

    Haley's comet landed in 5th at the kick-off classic just last week and qualified for the O fresh out of the gate. I personally had Marcus out of the top 5, as I believed David Henry, and quite possibly Hidetada Yamagishi both could have placed ahead of him.

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Marcus Haley.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From Pre-Judging Here.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From Finals Here.
View More Pics Of Marcus Haley From The Press Conference Here.

Marcus Haley.

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    Marcus' conditioning was good, but lack of chest and an inability to control the mid-section are two things he needs to focus on in order to move up. Building a bigger chest takes time, but keeping the stomach in check is merely a matter of practice. Marcus will also be giving up a good amount of size standing next to the big boys. Look for a bottom half finish in this stellar line-up.

Phil Heath:

    Rookie of the year, undefeated in his last 7 attempts, the golden child... all right, you get the idea! Phil Heath is probably the most talked about and anticipated bodybuilder in the ASC. With 2 wins in his first 2 shows (a feat only accomplished by Flex Wheeler and Kevin LaVrone) Phil is automatically a threat in any show he enters.

Mr. USA Phil Heath
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Phil Heath.

    Beautiful lines and symmetry combined with equal conditioning make Phil a lock for the top 3. Phil's only challenge will be if he has gained enough muscle in the off-season to not get dwarfed by the likes of Freeman, Martinez, Badell and co.

    He's polished and might have the edge in terms of pre-show hype... better bring his A game as all eyes will be on him to best his last showing, a tough act to follow.

Is The Arnold Ready To Unwrap 'The Gift'? Is The Arnold Ready To Unwrap 'The Gift'?
Soon, Bodybuilding.com will be reporting whether Phil Heath has secured his third straight win when he goes head to head with veterans... Read below to see if this young pro has a chance!
[ Click here to learn more. ]

David Henry:

    It was supposed to be "David -vs- Goliath" at the Iron Man... it ended up just Goliath (Freeman) without the challenge. David looked good, but not as good as he did when he finished runner-up to Lee Priest last year. At David's height, he needs to bring that razor sharp conditioning the judges have grown accustomed to.

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David Henry.
View More Pics Of David Henry From Pre-Judging Here.
View More Pics Of David Henry From Finals Here.
View More Pics Of David Henry From The Press Conference Here.

David Henry.

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    It looked as if he tried to come in a little bigger, and paid the price with a less than stellar 6th place finish. He'll have a tougher time at the ASC, as the line-up is tougher AND deeper.

Dexter Jackson:

    "The Blade" is back to defend the crown. Looking to tie Jay Cutler as a three time champ, he has his toughest challenge to date with the emergence of Victor Matinez, Toney and Phil. Dexter gave way to Victor at the Olympia, and thus, plays the role of having to beat Victor, not Victor having to beat him... big difference!

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Dexter Jackson.
View More Pics From The 2006 Arnold Here.

    Dexter at his best will be a formidable contender, his "grainy" conditioning and contrasting "pretty" physique is a tough combo to beat... unless you have those same two qualities AND are 10-20 lbs. heavier (cue up the Vic and Phil picture).

    I believe Phil will surprise quite a few people with how well he matches up with Dexter, and beating him in the thighs, calves back dept. I'm calling for an upset.

Victor Martinez:

    The "Dominican Destroyer" has finally come into his own with a predicted top 3 finish at the Olympia. For my money, you could have just as easily had Victor as your new Olympia champion without a question. Had Victor retained his conditioning throughout the prejudging (he started to flatten out as the judging went on) the Sandow could have ended up on his mantle instead of Jays.

Victor Martinez
Victor Martinez
IFBB Pro & 2007 Arnold Competitor.
Photo By SecondFocus.
Week #50 - 2/27/2007
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    Victors finish above Dexter puts him in the driver's seat as the man to beat at the ASC. As great as Dexter is, he will have a tough time three-peating giving up 30 lbs. to Victor... IF Victor is 100%...and he will have to be in order to come out ahead of Dex and Phil.

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Victor Martinez At The 2006 Olympia.
View More Pics From The 2006 Olympia Here.

    Victors only Achilles heal, is a sometimes suspect conditioning. If he comes in flat or off, he leaves the door wide open for any of the top guys to walk through it, and believe me, they want nothing better than to knock the big man down to give THEM the edge at the '07 Olympia.

Guest: Victor Martinez
Date: 08/22/05
(Radio Show 10) - mp3 (13.0 MB)

Ronny Rockel:

    Ronny has a very complete physique, very comparable to Mark Dugdale. No real weaknesses to speak of. Unfortunately, much like Mark, he gives up a lot by way of size and height. Bodybuilding has always been and will always be, a big man's game. Two physiques, both equal in development and conditioning... 10 times out of 10 it will go to the bigger guy. As good as Ronny can be, he's looking at the lower half in placing.

Rockel Rockel
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Ronny Rockel.
View More Pics From The 2006 Olympia Here.

Marcus Ruhl:

    They're not saying boo... they're saying Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhl!! God, I love saying that! Marcus is the X-factor in this line-up ( not to be confused with the X-man). Sporting 275 lbs. on his 5'10 frame, Marcus is a sight to behold.

    The crowd loves him, but can he get any love from the only 11 opinions that matter? Marcus can stand with the best of them, but he has one hurdle to get over to make a run for the title... conditioning. Marcus has a tendency to come in on the soft side. This could be disaster assuming that Dex, Phil, Vic, Gus, Toney all come in peeled.

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Markus Ruhl.
View More Pics From The 2006 Olympia Here.

    The reason I say Marcus is the X-factor is that he could go anywhere from 2nd -7th . I would like to see the German Giant come in about 10 lbs. lighter to keep the waist tight. A large waist will get accentuated real quickly when standing in between the Gift and the Blade.

Markus  Is Ready To Ruhl Columbus! Markus Is Ready To Ruhl Columbus!
The crowd will be bellowing Rhhhuuuul when he walks onto the creaking Columbus stage... Can this German giant be an upset among the best in the business? We'll see.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Sergey Shelestov:

    Easily the most overlooked man at the Iron Man Pro (where he placed an unbelievable 16th!) Shelestov needs an impressive finish at the Sac Pro (Feb 24th) to get a good look from the judges at the ASC.

    In pictures with Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman, he held his own and was very comparable with the top 2 bodybuilders in the world, hard to believe he can't be at the Arnold. If I had to pick a dark horse for this show, it would be Shelestov. If he gets the callouts, he could finish higher than anticipated... IF.

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Sergey Shelestov.

Vince Taylor:

    The return of "The Quiet Storm". The O.G. Terminator will continue on his comeback trail after a top 3 finish last year in Australia, and a return to the Olympia stage. At 50 years old, it's nothing short of remarkable that he can STILL hold his own with the world's best. Vince is looking to break into the top 6 slots, and will no doubt be the best poser in the line-up.

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Vince Taylor.

    Never count out a veteran competitor like Vince, as he has a few tricks still up his sleeve. The former Masters Olympia champ has the old school ability to show off his best features, and like a fine magician... create the illusion of a much bigger physique while masking the weaknesses.

Vince Taylor Hits Columbus! Vince Taylor Hits Columbus!
He is a bodybuilding legend, he is 50 years old and he's back. He is Vince Taylor. The Masters Mr. Olympia made a comeback last year... Now he ventures back to the Arnold classic.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Branch Warren:

    If guts and intensity were the competition, this guy finishes first. Branch's training style has brought him the muscle mass of a man 6 inches taller. With the best legs in the show, the only drawback for Branch is height and detail.

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Branch Warren.
View More Pics Of The 2006 Arnold Here.

    Because Branch has so much muscle packed on his frame, his separation tends to be obscured. Grainy and veiny, he'll be a crown favorite, but in a line-up stacked with Sultans of Symmetry (all due respect to Flex) he'll be the orange to the apples.

An Interview With 2006 Olympia Qualifier, Branch Warren. An Interview With Branch Warren.
The following is an in-depth interview conducted with Warren as he relaxed in his Texan habitat minutes after one of his murderous workouts in the sweltering heat at Metro Flex gym.
[ Click here to learn more. ]

Luke Wood:

    I would have liked to see Luke in action at the Iron Man as he was scheduled to compete. Luke looked big as a house at the Expo just 24 hours before game time... but the flu kept him out of action.

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Luke Wood At The Iron Man Press Conference.
View More Pics Of Luke Wood At The Iron Man Press Conference Here.

    If Luke can ever bring the same physique we see in pictures on the internet, onto the stage... he just might turn a few heads. Like a midget in the shallow end of the pool... I think Luke is in over his head with this exceptional line-up.

Luke Wood Luke Wood
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Luke Wood.

Special Invites:

    As of this writing, we are still awaiting the announcement of just who (if anyone) will get a special invite to the Arnold. Jim Lorimer will be live on this weeks Pro Bodybuilding Weekly, with Dan Solomon and yours truly, to tell us who the selection is.

    Two names have been thrown around as potential candidates... Silvio Samuel and Hidetada Yamagishi. Silvio finished an impressive 4th this past week at the Iron Man Pro, and should have been runner-up. Yamagishi finished... well... 7th.

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Silvio Samuel.
View More Pics Of Silvio Samuel From Pre-Judging Here.
View More Pics Of Silvio Samuel From Finals Here.

    Normally, 7th would have been pretty good... but not when the whole world had him in the top 5... that is, except the judges. I suggested on this past weeks show that BOTH should get an invite, as both are equally deserving.

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Hidetada Yamagishi.
View More Pics Of Hidetada Yamagishi From Finals Here.
View More Pics Of Hidetada Yamagishi From The Press Conference Here.

    If I had to pick one, I would go with Yamagishi. I like Silvio a lot, but at least he is going to the Olympia while Hidetada went home with a warm handshake and a pat on the back.

Final Results:

  1. Victor Martinez
  2. Phil Heath
  3. Dexter Jackson
  4. Gustavo Badell
  5. Toney Freeman
  6. Marcus Ruhl
  7. Mark Dugdale
  8. Sergey Shelestov
  9. David Henry
  10. Branch Warren
  11. Ronny Rockel
  12. Vince Taylor
  13. Marcus Haley
  14. Luke Wood