An intriguing battle between a pair of former NCAA wrestling standouts is set to take place at Bellator 186, as Chris Dempsey (11-5) will take on Ed Ruth (3-0) in a middleweight bout at the event. Sources close to the fight have indicated to BluegrassMMA that bout agreements are in place for the matchup.
Dempsey is a Western Pennsylvania native and UFC veteran, but before starting his MMA career he was an All-American wrestler at Pitt-Johnstown. After posting a 10-1 record on the regional scene, Dempsey signed with the UFC in 2014, where he competed four times. That included a win over former “Ultimate Fighter” winner Eddie Gordon at UFC on FOX 15 in 2015.
Dempsey has had a rough go in his last three outings, however, losing all three via knockout in the first round. That included his final two UFC bouts, as well as his last outing against Adam Hunter at Gladiators of the Cage 21 last June.
Ruth was a high profile signing for Bellator MMA last year, and rightly so. He won three NCAA titles during his time wrestling at Penn State, and has gone on to win his first three bouts after starting his MMA career. Since making his debut in November, Ruth has finished all three of his opponents under the Bellator banner via first round TKO. Dempsey will be a big step up for Ruth, however, as his first three opponents have a combined record of just 11-9.
Bellator 186 takes place on the Penn State campus at the Bryce Jordan Center, and the promotion has been busy filling the fight card with multiple Nittany Lion alums, as well as former collegiate wrestlers and Pennsylvania natives.
Another former Penn State national champion will compete, as MMAFighting.com reports that Phil Davis will face unbeaten promotional newcomer Leo Leite at light heavyweight.
The event will be headlined by light heavyweight champion Ryan Bader – another former All-American wrestler – defending his title against Linton Vassell. A second title fight will feature Ilima MacFarlane taking on Emily Ducote in a rematch for the vacant women’s flyweight title.
Lots of other local talent will compete at the event, including Dominic Mazzotta, Mike Wilkins, and Francis Healy.
Stay tuned to BluegrassMMA for more on Bellator 186.