Despite very strong competition from both Dennis Wolf at his best ever and Victor Martinez in top condition, Branch Warren did indeed leave the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium tonight not only with his fifth Most Muscular award, but also first place and all that goes with it: a $130,000 check, a $20,000 Audemars Piquet watch, a Tony Nowak leather jacket, and a Joska crystal trophy. He also now joins the list of legends that have won the Arnold Classic that includes Rich Gaspari, Shawn Ray, Kevin Levrone, Flex Wheeler, Ronnie Coleman, and Jay Cutler.
After hearing his name announced by emcee Lonnie Teper as the winner, Branch dropped to the floor much the way Ronnie Coleman was known to do back in the day. Arnold came out to give the congratulatory interview, and commended Branch for refusing to give up even though he came up short at this event several times over the last four years. Branch took the time to thank his Lord and savior Jesus Christ, his wife Trish, his good friend Brian Dobson who believed in his potential twenty years ago when no one else did, and his sponsors: Steve Blechman and MD, Muscletech, and GASP clothing, and his nutrition coach George Farah.
Evan Centopani upset veteran Dexter Jackson to walk away from the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium as the first-ever FLEX Pro Bodybuilding Championships winner. Presented by Body Fortress, the FLEX Pro is Centopani’s first contest since 2009, when he won his pro debut at the New York Pro. With added thickness to his torso and legs, Centopani’s grainy condition and superior size could not be denied.
Jackson, slightly off from his signature sliced and diced physique, settled into the second spot. Though improved from this afternoon’s prejudging, it wasn’t enough to overtake the Centopani steam roller.
Fouad Abiad, who sat out last season, came out strong with loads of dense, striated muscle to take the third spot. Abiad had great detail in his back double-biceps and both side-chest and side-triceps shots.
At 275 pounds, you don’t get any bigger than Dennis Wolf. But The Big Bad needed to be a bit drier to show the requisite lines in his hamstrings and lower back.
Ben Pakulski, who had improved balance thanks to added muscle to his upper body, finished in the fifth spot.
Centopani and Abiad qualify for the 2011 Mr. Olympia this September (Jackson qualified via his fourth place finish at the 2010 Olympia).
1st – Winner: Evan Centopani-$15,000
We’re not exactly sure how something we reported three weeks ago is news again, but apparently it is today: Dennis Wolf will compete in the FLEX Pro on February 19th at the Santa Monica Civic Center. Despite an internet rumor to the contrary, we caught up with Wolf this morning for confirmation.
“I’m very excited to be in this contest,” Wolf said. “I don’t know how these things start because I’ve just been training and focusing on getting ready. I think there’s a little extra motivation because it’s the first time for this show and it’s also the first one of the year.”
Wolf will look to continue his success from the 2010 Olympia, where he re-established himself as an elite competitor by placing fifth.
WHAT: 2011 FLEX Pro Bodybuilding Championships presented by Body Fortress
WHEN: February 19, 2011
WHERE: Santa Monica Civic Center, Santa Monica CA
TIMES: Prejudging at noon, Finals at 7 pm (All time PST)
Things just got a lot more interesting at the FLEX Pro, as two of bodybuilding’s top competitors recently announced they will be competing on February 19th at the Santa Monica Civic Center.
Dennis Wolf and Evan Centopani, two of bodybuilding’s youngest and brightest stars join a lineup that already includes Mr. Olympia winner Dexter Jackson and a host of hungry up-and-comers eager to start the 2011 IFBB Pro League season with a bang.
The rejuvinated Wolf is coming off his third top-five Olympia finish in the last four years. Wolf, 33, slipped up by placing out of the top 15 in 2009 but came back in a big way this past September by placing fifth in a loaded lineup. Despite his considerable hype, though, Wolf will be looking for only the second professional win in his six-year career. His first and only contest win came at the 2007 Keystone Classic.
It was just about a full year ago that we were all talking about how deep the 2009 Mr. Olympia line-up was going to be. Dexter Jackson was coming in as the defending champion, Kai Greene was making his first appearance on the Las Vegas stage after dominating at the Arnold Classic, Phil Heath was returning for his second shot at the Sandow after taking third in his maiden O, Dennis Wolf was the ‘sexy’ pick and Jay Cutler was hardly being mentioned.
We all know what happened, with Cutler besting Branch Warren to reclaim what was once his. Jackson fell to third, with Greene and Heath following. Wolf did not even place and has been quiet of late. With such unexpected results then, who knows what is going to occur this time?
The men who have qualified so far are Cutler, Jackson, Warren, Greene, Heath, Wolf, Melvin Anthony, Erik Frankhouser, Toney Freeman, Marcus Haley, Victor Martinez, Evengy Mishin, Robert Piotrkowicz, Craig Richardson, Ronny Rockel, Roelly Winklaar and Hidetada Yamagishi.
For a guy who was on many people’s short list to unseat Jay Cutler at the 2008 Mr. Olympia, Dennis Wolf sure has come down more than a few notches. That year, he finished fourth in a decision that many felt he didn’t even deserve. He announced that same evening that he was going to compete in the next Arnold Classic but an injury prevented him from doing that.
With a full year between contests, Wolf showed up at the ’09 Olympia extremely off and did not even place. That was a total shock to not only his minions but Wolf himself. But did the big German shoot up the list too fast, only to come back to reality?
Looking over his professional career, Wolf seemed to have peaked between 2007 and 2008. He finished fifth and fourth, respectively, in those two years at the O. At the 2006 Olympia, he did not place and has won only one show overall (2007 IFBB Keystone Pro Classic). Wolf has taken third at his two New York Pro appearances (2007, 2010) and seventh at the ’06 Europa Super Show.