Ed Ruth is 6-0 in his MMA career (Photo/Bellator)
Three weeks ago, Ed Ruth learned he would be one of ten fighters named to Bellator MMA's Welterweight Grand Prix.
Now the three-time NCAA wrestling champ from Penn State has found out who he will be facing in the first round of the tournament to determine the top welterweight (170-pound) fighter in the Bellator MMA promotion.
Ruth's opening-round rival will be Neiman Gracie, fourth-generation member of the legendary Brazilian fight family, at a date to be determined.
ESPN.com described Ruth and Gracie as "highly touted prospects." Both men are nearly the same age (Ruth is 27; Gracie, 29), nearly the same height (Ruth is 5'11"; Gracie, 6'0") and with similar flawless records. Ruth, 6-0, has earned five of his wins by KO/TKO, with one by decision ... while Gracie is 8-0, with seven of those wins by submission, and one by decision. Ruth launched his pro career in Nov. 2016; Gracie has been fighting in the pros since Sept. 2013.
As announced previously, Bellator's Welterweight Grand Prix will begin with a previously announced rematch between former champions Douglas Lima (29-7) and Andrey Koreshkov (21-2). That bout will take place at Bellator 206 on Sept. 29 at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.
In the other opening round bout -- announced just this week -- Paul Daley (40-6) will face Michael Page (13-0) at a date and location to be determined.
Also part of the Grand Prix: Bellator's current welterweight champion Rory MacDonald (20-4) will take on Jon Fitch (31-7-1) ... as well as an alternate bout between Lorenz Larkin (19-7) and Yaroslav Amosov (20-0), of Ukraine.
Ruth's entire pro MMA career has been with Bellator, having signed with the organization in May 2015. In less than two years, the former Nittany Lion mat star has crafted a perfect record, with the first five fights as a middleweight at 185 pounds. In June, Ruth made his debut as a welterweight at Bellator 201, scoring a second-round stoppage of veteran Andy Murad.