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Ruth takes Bellator 168 bout on short notice

Ed Ruth wrestling Deron Winn at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

One month after winning his pro MMA debut, former Penn State wrestling champ Ed Ruth has agreed to a second bout with just five days' notice in Italy this weekend.

Ruth will be fighting fellow middleweight Emanuele Palombi at Bellator 168 at Nelson Mandela Forum in Florence, Italy this Saturday.

The former Nittany Lion mat star posted this message on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon:


"Ed Ruth has accepted the challenge to come over and fight Emanuele Palombi from Rome," Bellator president Scott Coker told ESPN.com. "It's the second opportunity to see Ed fight in MMA. We saw how he responded to the nerves of his first fight, in front of lots of family and friends. This is another test and we'll see how he does."

"Ed's development, from his wrestling background at Penn State University, has drawn a lot of interest," Coker said.

Ruth's first pro MMA fight was at Bellator 163 on Nov. 4, where the Harrisburg, Pa. native scored a TKO by strikes over Dustin Collins-Miles at 3:19 of the first round of their scheduled three-round middleweight (185-pound) bout.

Palombi, 30, will be making his first appearance at a Bellator event. A product of Rome, Palombi launched his pro MMA career in June 2015. He now has 5-2 record, winning his last three fights this year in the first round.

Ruth, who signed with Bellator in summer 2015, is now 1-0 in his professional MMA career. He was the first three-time NCAA Division I wrestling champ in the more than a century of Penn State wrestling, winning the 174-pound crown at the 2012 NCAAs, then back-to-back titles at 184 in 2013 and 2014 after placing third at the Nationals in 2011. As a Nittany Lion, Ruth was a four-time NCAA All-American and four-time Big Ten conference champ, compiling an impressive 140-3 record.

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