When making her MMA debut in 2008, women’s MMA 145-pound up-and-comer Revelina “Nana” Berto had a definite lack of experience, but that didn’t stop her from starting off her career 3-0.
“I was 18 years old and fresh out of high school and all the other girls had tons of experience and were older than me,” said Berto. “But it was lights, camera, action and I was not really nervous and went in there and did what I had to do.
“I learned a lot. It is so different than in the gym. A lot of people are gym fighters, they’re great in the gym, but once they get in the cage it kind of messes with them. That was one thing that I had to get used to. It’s second nature to me now.”
Unfortunately Berto’s hot start couldn’t be sustained as opponent after opponent kept dropping out of fights, leading to a four-year layoff prior to her scheduled CFA debut this coming Saturday night.
“I haven’t fought in so long, but I think it’s the best thing that could have happened to me because now I’m just so mature and I’m in it for the sport, no other reason, and I want to showcase all the hard work I’ve put in at my training camp,” she said.
Berto’s return to fighting comes as part of the first round of the CFA’s 145-pound women’s tournament. At the event, scheduled to broadcast live via UStream from Coral Gables, Fla., Berto will be fighting in perhaps the most competitive fight of the night.
“Peggy Morgan is the most feared girl in the tournament and I got her in the first round,” said Berto. “I know she’s going to bring her A-game and trained her butt off for me, but I trained my butt off for her, so it’s going to be a crazy fight.
“With Peggy, she’s good on the ground and with stand-up, so I’ve had to work on every part of MMA. This fight can go either way, from knockout to submission to crazy from start to finish. Even if it goes to decision, it’s going to be a good fight.”
Luckily Berto comes from a fighting family that includes former EliteXC lightweight Edson, former boxing welterweight champion Andre, former state wrestling champion Cleveland, and former multi-time NAGA champion Rachelle to help her out.
“I was just the new kid on the block and people were saying with my last name that I had to show something, so it was most definitely a lot of pressure on me at a young age, but now I just see it as something that drives me,” Berto told MMAWeekly.com.
“I’m just so blessed to have a family that’s good at every different part of MMA. I have brothers that can help me out with boxing, wrestling, all-around MMA, and a sister that can help me with the crazy ground game.”
Berto’s goals don’t just stop at winning this tournament. She fully intends to be a champion in multiple divisions and gain recognition as one of the best fighters in the world, period.
“I’m excited to be in the tournament and am going to go out there and do what I’ve been training to do,” she said. “After this, I’m looking to probably go down to 135 pounds and do my thing at both weights and shake up both divisions.”
(Photo courtesy of Revelina Berto)