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ONE FC 19: Herbert Burns excited to be fighting in the Middle East for the first time

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ONE FC makes its Dubai debut later this month.

The ONE FC featherweight belt will be on the line on August 29th, but the title match between champion Koji Oishi and challenger Jadamba Naruntungalag will not be the only significant 145-pound bout on the card.

Herbert Burns is looking to build on the momentum of two impressive ONE FC wins and if the undefeated Brazilian featherweight can earn a third successive victory he will potentially be in pole position for a shot at the belt.

Burns (3-0) has already taken out Harris Sarmiento and Edward Kelly in performances which were impressive for different reasons, but he faces a far greater challenge in Dubai because he is up against once beaten Japanese featherweight Hiroshige Tanaka.

The Japanese fighter holds an impressive 11-1 record and Burns believes this will be the toughest test he has faced so far in his MMA career.

"They tell me he has strong wrestling and a good left hook but I’m preparing myself for every situation that could happen in this fight and I train alongside world champions at Evolve MMA so whatever happens I will be ready."

Nothing is being left to chance in Burns’ pre fight preparation and the Brazilian says he has been working tirelessly with the Evolve MMA trainers on every aspect of his game.

"Saenguirun Lookbanyai is taking care of my striking. I have lots of good training partners like Shinya Aoki, Irshaad Sayed, Bruno Pucci, Eddie Ng, Brodinho Issa, Amir Khan, Radeem Rahman and Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichok. They all have really particular styles, all different and unique, which makes it a challenge every time I go with any of them."

Burns recently made headlines when his long term girlfriend, Kirstie Gannaway, signed with ONE FC. The two of them train together at Evolve MMA but he is quick to play down concerns that seeing his significant half in the gym every day could be a distraction.

"Kirstie signing with ONE FC has affected me but only in a positive way. I can see that she is putting in a lot of effort in the training and is trying hard to get better every single day. She is very focused and I believe that she is going to be a big MMA star very soon."

For now his focus is on ONE FC: "Reign of Champions" which is set for the World Trade Centre in Dubai later this month and after fighting in Manila and Kuala Lumpur, he is looking forward to competing in the Middle East for the first time.

"I am really excited. This ONE FC card in Dubai will be the greatest fight card they have put out to date. It will be my first time visiting the Middle East and they have a very big BJJ community so I have some close friends living there that will be supporting me on the night of the event. I am determined to put on a great fight and if I get the opportunity, to showcase my grappling skills."

Burns is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt and No-Gi Grappling world champion so it is no secret where his strengths lie and while the Brazilian has been working tirelessly on his stand-up, he says submission wins remain his bread and butter.

"If the submission is there I will always take it because that is my specialty. I work every day with Muay Thai world champions at Evolve MMA so I am confident in my striking, but BJJ will always be my greatest strength."