2012 Arnold Classic: Warren wins No. 2!

He shouldn’t have been here. Not competing on stage with the best bodybuilders on the planet. Not after suffering a torn ligament in his quad just four weeks out from last year’s Olympia.

But, on Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio, Branch Warren was here. Big, hard, full and – while not quite 100 percent recovered from the injury – back to where he left off to claim his second consecutive Arnold Classic title. But the win didn’t come easily.

Warren faced a tough test from both Dennis Wolf and Evan Centopani. Wolf took the stage improved from his xxx-place finish at the Olympia and his runner-up finish here a year ago, displaying a combination of size and shape that was overpowering in some poses. Centopani, who finished fourth here last year, had added thickness to an already dense frame to go with what is becoming his trademark grainy conditioning.

But, pose for pose, Warren’s combination of size, conditioning and dense muscle proved to be the difference, despite his right leg being down slightly in size.

Aside from Warren’s shockingly quick recovery, Ben Pakulski’s fourth-place finish was the most surprising turn of events of the evening. Sharper than he was at the FLEX Pro two weeks ago, Pakulski muscled his way past three-time Arnold Classic winner Dexter Jackson. Predicted by many to be battling for a spot towards the bottom of the top six, Pakulski established himself – for the moment – as one of the best of the up-and-comers by beating out Lionel Beyeke, Brandon Curry, Shawn Rhoden and Fouad Abiad.

Go here to see the galleries!


1. Branch Warren

2. Dennis Wolf

3. Evan Centopani

4. Ben Pakulski

5. Dexter Jackson

6. Lionel Beyeke

7. Brandon Curry

8. Shawn Rhoden

9. Michael Kefalianos

10. Eduardo Correa

11. Fouad Abiad

12. Ben White

13. Gustavo Badell

14. Matthias Botthof