Every Winner of the Arnold Classic South America Bodybuilding Show

Since its inception in 2013, a whose who of bodybuilders have won this now-notable contest.

Starting in 1989, Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s namesake show — the Arnold Classic — sees athletes travel worldwide to compete in Columbus, OH. With a rapid rise in popularity and the inclusion of more strength sports, The Arnold Classic has since expanded its reach across the globe.

As of 2022, there are now four other Arnold Sports Festivals, held in Spain, South America, Australia, and the UK. The AC South America remains one of the lesser-known competitions to mainstream fans, yet it attracts some of the biggest names in the sport.

The show was last held in 2019 and was put off due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, seven men have won the contest, and between them, they’ve accumulated three Olympia wins and five Arnold Classic USA victories. 

And with that, here’s every winner of the Arnold Classic South America competition.

Brandon Curry (2013)

The contest was initially known as the Arnold Classic Brazil, and the inaugural edition was held in Rio de Janeiro in 2013. One of the favorites going into the contest was the late Cedric McMillan. However, he was unable to attend the athlete’s meeting due to travel reasons and was disallowed from competing. 


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A post shared by Brandon Curry (@brandon__curry)

In a twist of cruel irony, co-promoter Bob Lorimer announced that McMillan would be allowed to compete. However, the bodybuilder was already en route home when the news broke. 

Nonetheless, the contest went on, and Brandon Curry left with the victory. Toney Freeman and Johnnie Jackson rounded out the top three. This was Curry’s first pro victory and his first time being interviewed by Schwarzenegger. He would go on to win the Arnold Classic USA contest in 2019 and 2022 and the 2019 Mr. Olympia title.

  1. Brandon Curry
  2. Toney Freeman
  3. Johnnie Jackson
  4. Edward Nunn
  5. Fred Smalls
  6. Robert Piotrkowicz
  7. Mike Kefalianos
  8. Hidetada Yamagishi
  9. Ronny Rockel
  10. Baitollah Abbaspour
  11. Mohamad Bannout
  12. Fernando Noronha Almeida
  13. Paco Bautista

Steve Kuclo (2014)

The 2014 contest was also highlighted with controversy, but it was on the stage. The top five in this lineup were determined to be Steve Kuclo, Juan Morel, Jon DeLaRosa, Lionel Beyeke, and Toney Freeman.

Many of the fans in attendance thought Beyeke was on his way to a victory because he looked the best he ever had up to that point, but the judges placed him fourth in the lineup. Kuclo would score his second pro win at the contest, followed by Morel in second and DeLaRosa in third.

  1. Steve Kuclo
  2. Juan Morel
  3. Jon DeLaRosa
  4. Lionel Beyeke
  5. Toney Freeman
  6. Marius Dohne
  7. William Bonac
  8. Mike Kefalianos
  9. Baitollah Abbaspour
  10. Fred Smalls
  11. Robert Piotrkowicz
  12. Ed Nunn
  13. Martin Kjellstrom
  14. Julio Cesar Balestrin

Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay (2015)

In 2015, the fans in Rio de Janeiro were anticipating seeing McMillan return to their country to compete, and they were also excited to see Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay for the first time, who at this point in his career was seen by a lot of experts as the next superstar of the sport.

The matchup lived up to the hype, and they were the last two standing at the end of the evening. Elssbiay’s size was too much for McMillan’s shape to overcome, and he was awarded first place. It was his third overall win since debuting at the New York Pro in 2013. Morel rounded out the top three. Elssbiay would go on to win the 2020 and 2021 Mr. Olympia contests.

  1. Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay
  2. Cedric McMillan
  3. Juan Morel
  4. Victor Martinez
  5. Brandon Curry
  6. Toney Freeman
  7. Fred Smalls
  8. Lionel Beyeke
  9. Jose Luis Rodriguez
  10. Marius Dohne

Kai Greene (2016)

The 2016 contest wasn’t as memorable as the fans and promoters hoped it would be. Australian competitor Josh Lenartowicz withdrew due to visa issues, and several competitors backed out of the show due to injuries or opting to enter other contests. In total, only five men showed up.

Kai Greene was on a roll during this season. After placing second at the 2014 Mr. Olympia to Phil Heath, he took off all of 2016 to refine his physique. He returned in 2016 and won the Arnold Classic USA, Arnold Classic Australia, and this show all in a row. The Arnold Classic South America was is Greene’s 11th pro win and the last time he’s stepped on stage as a competitor.  

  1. Kai Greene
  2. Juan Morel
  3. Lionel Beyeke
  4. Vitaly Fateev
  5. Ronny Rockel

Lukas Osladil (2017)

In 2017, the contest changed its name to the Arnold Classic South America, and it moved from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo, Brazil. Eight men entered the show, including popular 212 competitor Guy Cisternino, who placed seventh.


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A post shared by Lukas Osladil (@osladill)

Juan Morel was the heavy favorite to win after coming up short the previous three years. However, Lukas Osladil was looking the best he ever had, and the stars aligned in his favor. He pulled off the upset over Morel, who took second for the third time. Micheal Lockett rounded out the top three.

  1. Lukas Osladil
  2. Juan Morel
  3. Michael Lockett
  4. Johnnie Jackson
  5. Tomas Kaspar
  6. Earl Abrahams
  7. Guy Cisternino
  8. Derek Upshaw

Fabricio Moreiro (2018)

In late 2017, the IFBB officially split into two different organizations. The IFBB Pro League and IFBB Elite Pro split up the various international Arnold contests around the world, and, as of 2018, the South America contest is sanctioned by the IFBB Elite Pro.

Ten men entered the show, and Fabricio Moreira was crowned the champion over second place finisher Marcelo da Cruz. Moreira eventually joined the IFBB Pro League. His most recent contest was the 2021 Mr. Big Evolution Pro, where he finished third in the 212 contest.

  1. Fabricio Moreira
  2. Marcelo da Cruz
  3. Oscar Antonio Saracho
  4. Mattia Vecchi
  5. Hugo Marquez
  6. Fabricio Arana Cabal
  7. Caio Bonfim
  8. Christopher Harrite Filla Douglas
  9. Misael Avila
  10. Cleber Reis

Juan Morel (2019)

In 2019, the promoters of the Arnold South America rejoined the IFBB Pro League. Morel had another chance to win the show, but it featured rising stars Rafael Brandao, who was the home nation favorite, and Akim Williams.


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A post shared by juandieselmorel (@juandieselmorel)

Fortunately for Morel, his physique was on point, and he finally added the trophy for this contest to his mantle, and he was interviewed by Schwarzenegger after the victory. Brandao came in second, and Williams took the bronze spot in the lineup.

  1. Juan Morel
  2. Rafael Brandao
  3. Akim Williams
  4. Essa Obaid
  5. Eduardo Bracamontes
  6. Camilo Diaz Garzon
  7. Jefferson Santos
  8. James Bondi
  9. Lucas Coelho
  10. Ton Aragao

The Arnold South America Returns in 2022

Both the 2020 and 2021 contests were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it was added back on to the IFBB Pro League calendar for 2022.

The Arnold South America scheduled to take place on the weekend of Apr. 22-24, 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The winner of the contest will be qualified to compete in the 2022 Mr. Olympia, scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 16-18 in Las Vegas, NV.

Featured Images (left to right): @juandieselmorel , @brandon_curry, @big_ramy, @osladill on Instagram