This weekend the prestigious New York pro took place, and in tradition of the show was competitive as always in both the Open and 212 divisions. As more Arnold Championships are added, the prestigiousness of the New York Pro which was once the third most competitive pro show has been steadily increasing, and as a result you this weekend’s contest was one of the most competitive to date, with the 212 division being no exception. So it is without further adieu we present to you the Iron Affinity 212lb NYP Wrap Up!
1. Aaron Clark
Aaron was not at his best, plain and simple. That said, it is still fairly clear as to why he won the show, a true testament to how good this young man really is. He was one of the thickest and most dense guys up there, while sporting 90% condition. Comparing him to 2nd place finisher Guy Cisternino is similar to comparing a 100% Dexter Jackson (Guy) with a 90% Phil Heath (Aaron). Aaron edges him on size, roundness, as well as shape, and was in good enough condition to earn the title. It is far from crazy to be of the opinion that Guy should have won the show, as this sport is subjective and this was in fact a mild case of apples and oranges, but it becomes more and more clear that Aaron is the future of the 212 and this weekend only solidified his status.
2. Guy Cisternino
Guy brought a look that was very close to last week’s in Dallas just a tad softer and fuller. Guy has always had potential on top of potential but seems to really be hitting a stride this year. He claims to be competing at 209 currently, which in typical bodybuilder fashion is more than likely stretching the truth a bit. If we assume he is around 205 onstage, imagine this guy (no pun intended) with another 7 pounds of lean mass. A scary thought indeed for the rest of the 212 competitors. That being said, potential does not win shows, and the more Guy grows the more exacerbated the flaws in his physique become, especially when competing with the structurally elite such as Aaron Clark.
3. Baito Abbaspour
With just a few very small tweaks, Baito could easily have won this show. This was a very close top-three group. Baito had the greatest level of separation in the show, arguably the most mass, and hit a vacuum pose with stunning effectiveness. At this contest though, Baito was not 100% and with his slight structural flaws compared to other elites like Clark ended up costing him the title. Clearly a phenomenal talent, many still wonder if coming down to 212 is diminishing the quality of what he can bring to the stage. Baito clearly has the talent to beat guys like Guy and be competitive with Aaron, and is on route to being a major factor at the Olympia but unfortunately his structural limitations are coming to light in the class.
4. Marco Rivera
The New York native, Marco came close to his all-time best if not is best and although he was not all that close to Baito, Marco was much bigger than we have seen him in the past and it served him well here. He simply seems to lack the genetic pedigree of the men residing in the Top-3, could do damage and potentially win a number of smaller 212 shows. Marco can not match the elites on shape or separation but a little East Coast bias and he was able to secure a 4th place slot. Non the less, this was a very good showing for Marco in one of the most dense 212 lineups of all time.
5. Curtis Bryant
Having won 212 IFBB events in the past, Curtis was by no means a Rincker but definitely did not disappoint at this very competitive contest. There was nothing in particular to cite as a flaw in the package Curtis presented, he simply was in a stacked / talented lineup and judging do not go his way. Since Curtis able to hold his own in this lineup, it demonstrates just how talented he is and just how good this 212 class was, because Curtis would be able to walk through many smaller 212 events with this same physique. Though maybe not the victory he was seeking, this appearance was not a disappoint by any means.
6. Craig Richardson
Craig is an older competitor who has transitioned from the Open to 212. As many of Craig’s fans know he has a rapid-fire metabolism, and the package he presented on stage demonstrated this as he came in his classic condition. Surprisingly, he did not look “big” next to the other guys contrary to the assumptions as he was coming down from the open. While some may view this placing as a disappointment of sorts, especially with the expectations set for him being a former Open guy, Craig’s still a phenomenal bodybuilder, who brings a combination of both condition and symmetry with round muscle bellies most bodybuilders would only dream of. The decision to transition has started to pay off as he went from a second or third callout Open competitor, to just shy of placing in one of the most stacked 212 lineups yet.