He’s back. Brandon Curry returned to the location of his greatest victory before his greatest victory. In 2019, he won the Arnold Classic and then the Mr. Olympia. Having sat out the last two Arnolds to focus on the Olympia only, Curry (who turns 40 in October) hoped to repeat 2019 in 2022. But William Bonac was back, too. Unable to compete last year, Bonac (who turns 40 in May) was trying to prove the doubters wrong, to silence all those who said his time had passed after his sixth-place finish in last October’s not-so-great Mr. Olympia.

After five competitors had to drop out, there were only nine (the smallest Arnold Classic lineup ever). Still, with 2018 and 2020 champ Bonac and 2019 champ Curry this was a stronger lineup than last year’s. (The bigger prize purse helped.) Steve Kuclo usually struggles to bring the high-def detailing, but he did it this time, highlighted by his ham and glutes lines. He was the biggest surprise in the contest and was justly rewarded. Wide with big wheels, Nigerian Samson Dauda, currently living in the UK, sported the best X-frame in the show. He announced his arrival in bodybuilding’s second most prestigious contest on Saturday by moving ahead of Justin Rodriguez, who was smooth-ish, for the four spot.

But this was a duel between the two returning champs. Curry had the superior biceps and width. Bonac had the superior legs and cuts. Pose after pose, they battled in mano-a-mano comparisons on Saturday night. Sometimes Curry had the advantage. Sometimes Bonac. We favored Bonac for the win, but the judges disagree. In fact, they gave Curry straight firsts on Friday but only a one-point advantage on Saturday. We would’ve reversed both of those, as it looked like Bonac was clearly better on Friday but it was more of a toss-up on Saturday after Curry dried out.

2022 Arnold Classic
(left to right on Friday) Rodriguez, Bonac, Curry, Kuclo
2022 Arnold Classic
2022 Arnold Classic

Ultimately, it was Brandon Curry who won the apple-vs.-orange clash, joining William Bonac as a two-time Arnold Champ. He took home 200 grand (plus another 10 grand for best poser). But runner-up Bonac (who also won the $10,000 most muscular award) is back, too. Things are heating up. To be continued at the Mr. Olympia…

  1. Brandon Curry $200,000
  2. William Bonac $120,000
  3. Steve Kuclo $70,000
  4. Samson Dauda $37,500
  5. Justin Rodriguez $20,000
  6. Brett Wilkin $12,500
  7. Regan Grimes $2000
  8. Maxx Charles $2000
  9. Fabio Giga Rezende $2000

Check out the scorecards here.


Bikini: Lauralie Chapados

Classic Physique: Terrence Ruffin

Figure: Cydney Gillon

Fitness: Ariel Khadr

Men’s Physique: Erin Banks

Strongman: Martins Licis

Wellness: Isabelle Nunes

Wheelchair Bodybuilding: Gabriele Andriulli