The Penn State crowd was hot, and let their support of alumni Ed Ruth be known on Friday at Bellator 186 — but would Ruth be able to put on a show for the PSU faithful?
Bellator MMA brought mixed martial arts to Penn State on Friday, with Bellator 186: Bader vs. Vassell. With a main event featuring Ryan Bader putting his light heavyweight title on the line for the first time, the promotion was sure to include a number of Penn State alums.
That included Ed Ruth, a three time NCAA wrestling champion while attending Penn State. It would be a big homecoming for Ruth, who was set to face Chris Dempsey on the card.
Ruth came into Bellator 186 a perfect 3-0 in his professional MMA career. All three fights took place under the Bellator banner. Chris Dempsey, meanwhile, had lost four of his last five. Four of those bouts had gone down in the UFC. While not a PSU alum, he attended university at the University of Pittsburgh — a key PSU rival.
This one was going to have the crowd on fire — which showed right from the introductions.
Ruth and Dempsey exchanged early, with Ruth seemingly getting the better of his opponent. A couple of short exchanges later, and a kick to the body would lead to Ruth grabbing Dempsey in a headlock and wrestling him down. From there, the wrestling instincts kicked in, with Ruth working to take his opponent’s back. Dempsey maneuvered his way to the fence, looking to power up, but Ruth was able to pull him down and work for a kimura. While Dempsey fought that off Ruth remained in control, eventually getting back to his feet then re-engaging on the ground. Now in full mount, Ruth began dropping bombs. Dempsey escaped, only to find Ruth high on his back. Having shaken his opponent off Dempsey reset in the middle and the pair traded blows. While Ruth showed some solid striking, he’d once again opt to take the fight down, which is how the round ended.
Round two started fast and furious with an early exchange on the feet. At the tail end of that barrage, Ed Ruth connected with a thud, and Chris Dempsey went down! A right hand just by the ear did the damage, and it was lights out.
Ed Ruth def. Chris Dempsey by knockout, Round 2, 0:27