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“Going to Be Between Krizo and Brandon”: Amidst Everyone Chanting Big Ramy, Bodybuilding Veteran Picked Two Underdogs as Top Mr. Olympia Contenders Earlier This Year

Published 12/13/2022, 6:30 AM EST

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The 2022 Mr. Olympia is just days away, and predictions about potential winners are well underway. Two-time and current defending champion Mamdouh Elssbiay A.K.A. ‘Big Ramy’ is the favorite to take home the Sandow Trophy once again. But the 2019 Mr. Olympia champ, Brandon Curry, is in close competition for the title, too.

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But, according to the 1983 champ, Samir Bannout, there is a third bodybuilder who will end up lifting the trophy. Earlier this year, Bannout said Slovakian bodybuilder Michal ‘Krizo’ Križanec is the front-runner to win the Mr. Olympia title this year.


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But what exactly did Bannout see in Krizo that led him to make such bold claims?

Bodybuilding icon claims Michal Krizo will win Mr. Olympia 2022

People love a good underdog story. Right from the USA winning the Gold in Ice Hockey at the 1980 Winter Olympics to Holly Holm knocking Ronda Rousey out in UFC 193 — there have been many memorable moments. And according to the 1983 Mr. Olympia, Samir Bannout, the bodybuilding community may also witness a similar story. According to Bannout, Slovakia’s Michal Križanec might lift the Sandow Trophy in 2022.

While appearing on the Muscle Maturity podcast earlier this year, the former bodybuilder made the surprising claim. Bannout said, “I think he could actually win — not make the top five. He could win. It would be easy for him to make the top five — very easy.” 


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Slovak Bodybuilding Beast Sets off 2022 Mr. Olympia Goals by Providing a Sneak-Peek of His Shredded Physique

Samir also highlighted Krizo’s advantages. He said Michal’s “shoulders are incredible, arms are incredible, round chest, small waist, hamstrings. I think he’s got it all.” In addition to this, Bannout dismissed ‘Big Ramy’ to be a title contender, claiming Brandon Curry and Michal Križanec will be the final two posing for the title. “Brandon is the most dangerous. Brandon comes in shredded, it’s going to be between Krizo and Brandon. That’s my opinion.” 

Krizo’s journey to the Mr. Olympia finals

Back when Bannout claimed Križanec would win this year’s Mr. Olympia championship, he had not even qualified for the final event. Krizo didn’t even have a pro card up to that point.


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But everything changed once Krizo stepped onto the stage at the 2022 Prague Pro. The Slovakian won his debut Pro event and is now amongst the list of 32 men who will pose for the title in Las Vegas. Showcasing a ripped physique with particularly impressive legs, Krizo was the obvious winner at the event. Having won the title, Michal won automatic qualification to Mr. Olympia’s 2022 finals.

WATCH THIS STORY: Ronnie Coleman Delivered His Top 10 Lineups for Mr. Olympia 2022


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The Slovakian now has a chance to pose alongside Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay and Brandon Curry, amongst others. The 2022 edition of the competition will also mark Križanec’s debut in the big leagues. Do you think he has a shot at winning the title?




Naman Gopal Srivastava

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Naman Gopal is a US Sports Writer at EssentiallySports. Naman is an Undergraduate in Journalism and Mass Communication, with a minor’s degree in Cinematography from the Maharashtra Institute of Technology. An ardent fan of basketball and soccer, Naman was once a national level soccer player himself.

Edited By: Simar Singh Wadhwa