Ed Ruth’s upcoming trip to Hungary ran into a little turbulence on Monday.
Originally scheduled to fight Laszlo Furko at Bellator 196 on April 6 in Budapest, the three-time NCAA wrestling champion will now face Romania’s Ion Pascu (17-7) after Furko was forced to withdraw due to injury, officials confirmed with MMA Fighting.
The change was first reported by MMAjunkie.
Ruth, 27, is 4-0 in MMA so far, all with Bellator, and his fifth fight was supposed to mark his debut at 170 pounds after previously competing at middleweight. Instead, Ruth will meet Pascu in a 175-pound catchweight bout.
He told MMA Fighting that the opponent switch is of little concern to him and his team.
“We’re never just preparing for one guy,” said Ruth. “They know that I’m not just trying to be good at boxing or kickboxing, I’m not just trying to take the guy down and just be a wrestler, I want to go out there and compete against someone in the disciplines that they’re good in.
“Going forward with this new guy Ion Pascu, the training and everything is still the same. I’m just trying to get better with my standup striking, my wrestling, and all my transitions, and my jiu-jitsu.”
The 35-year-old Pascu has six times as many fights as Ruth and has fought to a decision on nine different occasions, something Ruth has yet to do once.
“EZ” has ended all of his fights by knockout in the first or second round. He now has less than two weeks to prepare for a new opponent, which is a relatively long time compared to some of the situations he dealt with in his collegiate wrestling days.
“Sometimes at dual meets, they would have somebody wrestle at a certain weight class all year long and then all of a sudden they switch the guy right before you’re about to step out there,” said Ruth. “Even when you’re weighing in on the scales, you’ll see them weigh in two guys so you don’t know which one of those guys you’re going to wrestle.
“There were times at the Penn State dual meets where I had to shake hands with, like, three guys that were out there on the mat and I didn’t know which one I was going to wrestle.”
Bellator 196, an event that will feature both Bellator MMA and Bellator kickboxing bouts, takes place at BOK Hall in Budapest, Hungary, on April 6. In the main event, Ben Henderson fights Roger Huerta in a lightweight bout.
See the updated MMA portion of the card below:
Ed Ruth vs. Ion Pascu