Herbert Burns Says Asian Fans Appreciate Grappling More
Posted by Jeffrey Harris on 08.27.2014
“It’s a different crowd.”
MMAjunkie recently spoke to MMA fighter Herbert Burns, who is set to face Hiroshige Tanaka at ONE FC 19 on Friday. Below are some highlights.
Burns on his move to train in Evolve MMA in Singapore: "I've been in Singapore for nine months this time around. I was invited by their black belt jiu-jitsu instructor, Bruno Pucci. We already knew each other in Rio. He needed fighters and instructors. He referred me to Saknarong Sityodtong, who's Evolve's founder, and they brought me over in October of last year."
Burns on the trouble he had finding opponents: "I had my first fight in Brazil, and I submitted my opponent in 25 seconds. After that, it was impossible to find other opponents. I would book a fight, and when they'd find out it was me, they'd back out. I couldn't find anyone to face me for around a year. Then Bruno told me about going to Evolve and fighting in Asia. I took my first fight in ONE FC with five days' notice, since someone got injured. I also won that fight by first-round submission."
This thoughts on Tanaka: "He's much more experienced, but my previous opponent, Harris Sarmiento, had faced Nick Diaz, Rob McCullough, Ed West, Roger Huerta, Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez. I was able to stand with him and win the decision. Tanaka, however, is a southpaw with knockout power on both left and right hands. But we're working hard to deal with that, to take him down and to put my jujitsu to work, which is my best skill. I'm taller than him. I've been working with southpaws who happen to be world Muay Thai champions, so I can cut him off and get him down."
Burns on Asian fans appreciating a grappling style of fighting more: "It's a different crowd. In the United States, many fans come from a boxing culture. In Asia, there are many ground arts since jiu-jitsu originated in Japan. Many arts with a gi tend to be more technical. American fans are often drinking and screaming. In Asia, they tend to be quiet, appreciating the nuances of the fight. They're more patient and seem to enjoy grappling more. And in Asia, the judging rules tend to favor a grappler who comes close to submitting his opponent."
Burns on dealing with soccer kicks and knees on the ground being legal: "It's a different rule, but it's no big deal. We train with that in mind. The key is not to put yourself in a dangerous situation. For example, if you attempt a double leg, and your opponent gets you in a headlock, you can eat some knees. At that point you should try to spin away, try to get his back, or do some variation. But you can't simply stop in that position. Likewise, you can't just stay on the ground since you might take a soccer kick."