Former One FC Featherweight Champion Honorio “The Rock” Banario takes on surging Brazilian Herbert Burns at One FC 23 “Warriors Way” on December 5,2014 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Manila, Philippines.
Banario once had the 145-pound title on his waist before tasting a three-fight losing skid against Koji Oishi twice and the current champ Jadamba Narantungalag. He was at the top of the mountain and was leading the pack, until he made his first title defense against seasoned veteran Oishi at One FC 9 last year.
In their first meeting, Banario came out very confident and composed against Oishi. He managed to hurt the Japanese fighter several times in the first round – in fact, he almost finished him – but Oishi was saved by the bell. In the second, Oishi showed some composure after being tagged hard, and in the last two minutes caught Banario with a cracking left straight, and followed it up with some nasty ground and pound to seal the deal and take the belt from Banario.
Seven months later, Banario was granted a rematch as Oishi’s first title defense, and the two met anew. Banario was much more cautious, carefully looking for an opening against the champ Oishi, who was doing the same having already tasted the power in Banario’s punches in their first meeting. Banario gave his best that night but it was not enough to beat the Japanese champion as once again, he was stopped by Oishi’s fists, this time in the third round.
The disappointment continued for the Team Lakay standout when he fought Oishi’s predecessor, current FW Champ Jadamba Narantungalag at One FC 16 in Singapore. Banario showed tremendous improvement in his overall MMA game against the Mongolian fighter. He was doing well in the striking department and scored several takedowns against him, but the judges saw it the other way, giving Jadamba the split decision victory and leaving Banario with a 0-3 slump.
According to his recent interview here, Banario has really prepared for this fight against Burns as it is a must-win fight for him. He doubled his time training his wrestling and ground game as he knows how dangerous Burns is on the ground.
Banario must win this fight if he wants the opportunity to get his title back next year. He looks focused and determined going up against a tricky BJJ blackbelt from Brazil.
Herbert Burns is a world-class BJJ practitioner, winning numerous title in his native country Brazil and international titles as well. He also happens to be the brother of Gilbert “Durinho” Burns. When he made his One FC debut two years ago, Burns was just a one dimensional fighter, a guy who was very predictable and still had a lot to learn in mixed martial arts. But in the span of two years training and teaching at Evolve MMA, Burns unbelievably evolved into a much more complete fighter than he exhibited in his MMA debut. His striking is as dangerous as anybody in this weight class, and he has this ground game that is so deadly that almost anyone shouldn’t dare to fight him on his back.
Burns is undefeated with wins over Eric Kelly’s brother Edward in their One FC debut, over super tough Hawaiian Harris Sarmiento, and Japanese standout Hiroshige Tanaka.
Burns proved his BJJ was no joke by choking out Kelly in just 44 seconds. Next he faced a huge step up in competition by welcoming Sarmiento to One FC. It was s different story, although the ending was the same, with Burns’ hand raised. Neither fighter came out with a clear game plan to dominate, but slowly through three rounds, Burns showed he could control where the fight took place. It earned him the UD.
Against Tanaka, Burns leveled up. He proved his all-around prowess against the more experienced Japanese. Through three rounds, Burns put on the pressure in just about every facet of his arsenal and got the unanimous decision.
And now, faced with Banario, he knows beating the former champ could definitely catapult him into a title contention next year.
This fight is really interesting as one fighter aims for redemption, while the other, reverence. Banario will have the striking advantage, and Burns has got the grappling edge.
Banario will likely use his striking expertise against his Brazilian foe. He will look to keep Burns away by using his jab and kicks, and then find the right time for the kill shot. Burns, on the other hand, should aim to take the fight to the ground and look to cement another submission win against a Filipino opponent.
However, the fact remains that these are two of the most competitive featherweights in One FC today. Banario has been in the thick of it during his last four matches. Burns is proving he’s a prodigy to be reckoned with. Both of these guys will be looking to showcase the best of what they are made of in the hopes of winning a title shot in 2015.