Bombs are bound to be exchanged when K-1 kickboxing veterans Patrick “HD” Barry (3-0) and Andre “The Silencer” Walker (2-3) face off with one another in the cage during Strikeforce “Payback” at Denver, Colorado’s Broomfield Events Center on Friday, October 3rd.
Since making a splash debut in MMA with a first round stoppage of Mike Delaney, a veteran of 39 professional MMA fights, on May 30, 2008, the 29-year-old Barry, also a veteran of Chuck Norris’ World Combat League and a 2003 Kung-Fu World Championship silver medalist, has not been forced to fight a full round. Barry claimed his latest victim in a minute and 52 seconds on Friday, crumbling Simon Diouf with a trio of leg kicks at Green Bay, Wisconsin’s Oneida Casino.
“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, Nevada.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, 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 “Red” 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.
Mixed martial arts (MMA) sensation Frank “Twinkle Toes” Trigg (17-6) will face off with Hawaiian star Falaniko “Niko” Vitale (26-8) in the main event of Strikeforce “Payback.”
World Muay Thai champion, Duane “Bang” Ludwig (16-8), will attempt to avenge a previous defeat at the hands of “The Ultimate Fighter” season three veteran, Sam “The Squeeze” Morgan (19-10) in the co-main event.
Also back in action at Strikeforce “Payback” will be “The New York Badass” Phil Baroni (12-10) and “The Ultimate Fighter” season four veteran, “The Secret Weapon” Pete Spratt (18-14). Opponents for Baroni and Spratt have not been confirmed yet.