03/02/2007 VICTOR MARTINEZ WINS THE 2007 ARNOLD CLASSIC TITLE

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2007 Arnold Classic
Competitor List and Gallery Links

1) TONEY FREEMAN
2) BRANCH WARREN
3) RONNIE ROCKELL
4) PHIL HEATH
5) DEXTER JACKSON
6) MARKUS RUHL
7) GUSTAVO BADELL
8) SILVIO SAMUEL
9) HIDETADA YAMAGISHI
10) SERGEY SHELESTOV
11) DAVID HENRY
12) LUKE WOOD
13) VICTOR MARTINEZ
14) MARCUS HALEY
15) VINCE TAYLOR
16) MARK DUGDALE

Men's Comparisons Gallery 1
Men's Comparisons Gallery 2

Men's Evening Show Gallery

Victor Martinez finally broke through to win one of the sports top titles, defeating two-time defending champ Dexter Jackson at the 19th annual Arnold Classic, held at Veteran's Memorial in Columbus, Ohio March 3.

Much like last year's contest, when the top four of Dexter Jackson, Branch Warren, Victor Martinez and Gustavo Badell could have been interchanged without a lot of controversy because there was no clear-cut standout, the 2007 Arnold Classic featured a top five that all had strengths and weaknesses. Victor Martinez wasn't quite as dialed in as during the 2006 Mr. Olympia prejudging when he was a solid third behind Jay Cutler and Ronnie Coleman; Dexter Jackson wasn't as sharp as we've come to expect from "The Blade"; Toney Freeman was much tighter than his victory a week before at the Sacramento Pro, but lacked some depth in his back and detail in his glutes; Phil Heath, while the most striated and aesthetic bodybuilder on stage, still needs more front-to-back thickness in his upper body before he becomes a bona fide threat to take an Arnold or Olympia title; and Gustavo Badell, who wasn't even a part of the first callout of the day but gamely battled back by the end of prejudging to crash the top-five party.

In the final analysis, it would seem Martinez's amazing structure won out the day, helping him to a straight-firsts victory even while not quite in top condition. There are very few bodybuilders in the world who could pull off such a feat, but the Dominican Dominator is definitely one of them, and solidifies his position as a top threat to Cutler and Coleman's one-two lockdown at the Olympia.

While people will debate the Jackson versus Martinez decision, other interesting stories emerged from the top six. Freeman, for one, who at 40 is finally getting his due in the pro ranks by winning his last two contests and taking third at the Arnold. Also, Heath, who proved he could hang with the big boys and should have been no lower than fourth but got nudged into fifth by a hard-charging Badell; and Samuel, with his flaring rounded muscle bellies and a compact midsection (which he does lose control of sometimes, but that's not an uncorrectable flaw) who was all in all excellent.

To watch the replay of the Arnold Classic, click on the "Arnold" banner at the top of the flexonline home page and you will be taken to Bodybuilding.com and Flex's exclusive webcast, where the women's finals, men's prejudging and men's finals are archived.

Arnold Classic Final Results:
Columbus, Ohio
March 3, 2007
1) Victor Martinez
2) Dexter Jackson
3) Toney Freeman
4) Gustavo Badell
5) Phil Heath
6) Silvio Samuel
7) Branch Warren
8) Ronny Rockel
9) Markus Ruhl
10) Vince Taylor
11) Mark Dugdale
12) Marcus Haley
13) Hidetada Yamagishi
14) David Henry
15) Sergey Shelestov
16) Luke Wood

Most Muscular Award: Victor Martinez
Best Posing Routine ($10,000): Marcus Haley

LIST OF PREJUDGING CALLOUTS
First callout: Toney Freeman, Phil Heath, Dexter Jackson, Victor Martinez

Second callout: Branch Warren, Ronny Rockel, Gustavo Badell, Silvio Samuel

Third callout: Markus Ruhl, Hidetada Yamagishi, Marcus Haley, Mark Dugdale, Vince Taylor

Fourth callout: Branch Warren, Silvio Samuel, Ronny Rockel, Markus Ruhl

Fifth callout: Hidetada Yamagishi, Sergey Shelestov, David Henry, Luke Wood

Sixth callout: Toney Freeman, Gustavo Badell, Silvio Samuel, Phil Heath

Seventh callout: Phil Heath, Toney Freeman, Dexter Jackson, Victor Martinez, Gustavo Badell

Eighth callout: Silvio Samuel, Ronny Rockel, Markus Ruhl, Branch Warren

Ninth callout: David Henry, Vince Taylor, Mark Dugdale, Marcus Haley

Tenth callout: Dexter Jackson, Gustavo Badell, Victor Martinez

Eleventh callout: Phil Heath, Toney Freeman, Gustavo Badell

Twelfth callout: Toney Freeman, Dexter Jackson, Victor Martinez

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