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In one of the greatest and fastest comebacks in the history of pro bodybuilding, Branch Warren successfully defended his Arnold Classic title and won for the second year in a row after fully tearing his quadriceps off the patellar tendon just six months ago. Branch was shredded at 249 pounds and was the strong favorite to win from the minute he stepped on stage this afternoon at judging. The injured leg was a bit smaller and lacked the same sweep as the other one, but you only really noticed if you were looking for it. Runner-up for the second year in a row went to Dennis Wolf, who looked about the same as last year, which isn’t to say he didn’t look fantastic – he did. He owned the front double biceps and most muscular poses with his wide delts and tiny waist. Moving up a spot from last year was Evan Centopani, who had improved his back significantly. His color was also much better, as was his presentation. Evan oozed confidence and seemed much more comfortable on the big Arnold stage this time around, even being more aggressive in the posedown. It’s only a matter of time before Evan brings up his chest and hams and really comes into his own. By then, he will be the man to beat at a show like this.

A big surprise – literally – was Ben Pakulski. Ben was huge and insanely shredded, with the best lower body in the show and enormous delts. He still needs more lower lats and arms, but this was a big step up for him – considering he beat Lionel Beyeke, who beat him two weeks ago at the Flex Pro. Dexter Jackson seemed shocked to take fourth, which is understandable given that he’s won this show three times as well as the Mr. Olympia. Problem was, Dexter was flat at judging, and his legs especially lacked fullness and detail. And rounding out sixth place was France’s Lionel Beyeke, who based on how he looked from the front, could have been a couple slots higher. Lionel has amazingly round, full muscle bellies and will be a force to reckon with very soon once he learns to nail his condition.

See the Arnold Classic 2012 Mens Bodybuilding Award Ceremony
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