by MMAWeekly.com Staff
Stirkeforce on Sunday announced the addition of K-1 veterans Patrick Barry and Andre Walker in an Oct. 3 heavyweight battle. The fight is part of the undercard for the promotion’s debut in the Denver-area at the 6,000 to7,500-seat Broomfield Events Center.

Both having strong pasts in kickboxing, neither Barry nor Walker has a load of MMA experience.

“I started off in kickboxing with the goal of being the world’s best kickboxer and, now, moving into MMA, I want to be the world’s best kickboxer in MMA,” said Barry of his new undertaking. “MMA is turning into kickboxing in the cage, pretty much. That’s just the way the sport has evolved.”

Last year, Barry turned in his most active year with K-1. During the organization’s “Grand Prix” tournament in Honolulu, Hawaii on April 28, 2007, he finished legendary puncher, “Big Daddy” Gary Goodridge, with a left round kick to the head at 1:07 of the opening round. Four months later, he stopped Rickard Nordstrand with an onslaught of low kicks in the second round of their meeting in Las Vegas.

A native of New Orleans, Barry lost a grandmother and his family home when Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. He has since found refuge in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the birthplace of his mentor, four-time world Muay Thai champion, Jeff “Duke” Roufus. With the help of MMA star, Eric Schafer, a trainer at The Duke Roufus Kickboxing, Mixed Martial Arts, and Boxing Academy, Barry has tackled the grappling aspect of his new occupation.

“I like it a lot,” said Barry of his wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training . “I’ve been kickboxing for six or seven years, so this is something different. I like it because it’s not easy and, if we want to train to be fighters, we’ve got to be ready for any kind of fight, any time, on all different terrains.”

Walker’s start will be his first since February 16, 2007, when he was stopped by Carpaccio Owens at the same arena where he will meet Barry.

“I’m going all the way this time. I’m 100% better than I used to be and committed to becoming a champion,” said the 36-year-old Walker. According to the heavyweight, he took a much needed hiatus in order to strengthen his skill set.

Despite only five professional MMA appearances, Walker brings to the cage a rich history in combat sports. During the late ‘90’s, the Denver native was a student of Sabaki Karate under Clarence Thatch and, later, he went on an unbeaten, 5-0 run in “Toughman” competition.

“The Sabaki helps my stand-up (skills) in MMA a lot,” explained Walker. “I’m able to swing my opponent and knock him off balance. It’s using his own weight against him.”

Walker made his greatest impression in the fight world to date on August 11, 2001 when he stopped Carter Williams in the second round of their K-1 matchup at Las Vegas’ Bellagio Hotel and Casino. Williams went on to capture the K-1 North America tournament championship two years later.

A recent victor at Sengoku 4 in Japan, Frank Trigg will face off with Hawaiian star Falaniko “Niko” Vitale in the main event of Strikeforce “Payback” in Broomfield.
World Muay Thai champion and local favorite Duane “Bang” Ludwig will attempt to avenge a previous defeat at the hands of “The Ultimate Fighter” season three veteran Sam Morgan in the co-main event.

Also back in action at Strikeforce “Payback” will be UFC veterans Phil Baroni and Pete Spratt. Opponents for Baroni and Spratt have not been confirmed yet.