Whangarei's Renata Poa kicked off her professional MMA career in style with a victory over Brazilian fighter Ellen Carla Monteiro Rosa.

The Northlander picked up the unanimous decision at the Ladies Fight Night 6: IRA event in Poland after an intense fight with the 21-year-old South American.

Poa said she was overwhelmed with the support she got and the experience itself.

"I'm feeling grateful and appreciative of all the support I have back home and from the new friends I've made while in Poland," she said.


"I'm stoked I lasted the rounds and am keen to get back to the drawing board.

"I choose my walk-out song, not for the crowd but for me and to calm my nerves. As soon as I saw the ring I knew it was time to focus."

Rosa put up one hell of a fight against the Northlander. She showcased her skills throughout the bout and did well to finish on her feet.

To check out some of the bout, click the link and skip ahead to 2:02:56

Poa said it was a real challenge and she gained a lot of respect for the Brazilian.

"She was tough. They breed them really tough in Brazil," she said.

"I have never been punched that hard in a fight - she gave me my first blood nose!

"She had a poker face and kept going. I have so much respect for her.

"Facing up to my opponent is like facing any challenge in life. You either let it unsettle you or you use it as fuel to step up and overcome that challenge."

Poa had to work hard to get down to the right weight for the heavyweight bout and said it was more than a physical battle to get on the card.

"I had to work hard not just physically but mentally too. The final stage of the weight cut was hard because we were in the middle of nowhere and the facilities we needed or were used to were not available," she said.

"The last resort was turning on the shower hot and sitting in the bathroom until I sweated the remainder of the weight out. We were lucky in the end we were able to get to an actual sauna.

"I learnt a lot from that experience and am grateful for the facilities we have in Whangarei."

The near future for the budding MMA star isn't clear but that won't stop her working on her craft. She has moved up to No3 in the world heavyweight rankings which should open the door for future fights.

In the meantime Poa said she and her team will go to the drawing board after having a little bit of rest and recuperation.

"I'll debrief with my coaches and see what is next," she said.

"There are whispers of a huge match-up but for now the priority is to fix these injuries, spend time with my friends and family then get back to work."