Strikeforce “Payback” Press Release: Ludwig vs. Morgan II


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                        September 27, 2008

American Top Teamer Steps Up To Face “The Silencer”

SAN JOSE, Calif. —American Top Team member and two-time New York State Metropolitan Boxing Champion, Carlos Zevallos (0-0), will fill the recent void left by Pat Barry, and make his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) debut against Andre “The Silencer” Walker (2-3), in a light heavyweight (205 lb. limit) contest during Strikeforce “Payback” at Broomfield, Colorado’s Broomfield Event Center on Friday, October 3rd.

Like his opponent, Zevallos brings to the cage a rich history in the striking arts, winning back-to-back New York State Metropolitan Championships in 2005 and 2006.  A student of Muay Thai since the age of 16, the Queens, New York native, now 29, captured the World Kickboxing Association (WKA) National Heavyweight Muay Thai Championship in 2004.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” said Zevallos of his upcoming MMA debut. “I’m gonna make it very far (in MMA) because I pay a lot of attention to detail.  I really dissect the sport and study it to the fullest – every aspect of it.  “Not only do I learn it very fast, but I get really good at it.  It’s a constant never ending search for perfection that drives me to MMA.”

“My striking is a lot more advanced than the average MMA guy,” the fighter stressed. “ I take it for what it is and thank God that I have that edge over them but, at the same time, anyone can lose at any given moment so you always have to find whatever weaknesses you have and work on that.”

Zevallos’ experience in kickboxing and amateur boxing competition, which also includes three runs at the annual Golden Gloves Championships, has helped prepare him to fight in pressure situations like the one in Broomfield that pits him against a veteran of five MMA bouts.

“To this day, that holds a big part of my heart,” explained Zevallos of his efforts in the boxing ring.  “I just remember things like fighting this guy in one of the tournaments and getting caught with a real nasty left hook.  I felt my body starting to collapse while I was on the ropes.  Right before I started going down, I remembered that my cousin and one of my best friends were in the audience and all I started feeling was their emotions in the back of my head and that woke me up. I came back and won the fight.”

Last year, Zevallos packed up his belongings and relocated to South Florida, the home of fearsome fight squad, American Top Team, to pursue a new challenge in the world’s fastest growing sport.  He has since been taken under the wing of famed ATT head instructor and Carlson Gracie black belt, Ricardo Liborio.

“I had heard about (American Top Team) and seen them on TV a lot.  I liked the fact that they were winning consistently and I wanted to train where the best people were training.”
Zevallos’ opponent, Walker, is a Denver native and former student of Sabaki Karate under martial arts legend, Clarence Thatch.  In the late ‘90s, Walker utilized his striking skills to go 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 a matter of using his 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.

Tickets for Strikeforce “Payback,” priced from $30, are on sale at Ticketmaster (303-830-TIXS) and

In the main event, knockout artist and Denver native, Duane “Bang” Ludwig (16-8), will attempt to avenge a previous knockout at the hands of “The Ultimate Fighter” season three veteran, Sam “The Squeeze” Morgan (19-10).

Superstar Frank “Twinkle Toes” Trigg (17-6) will take on Hawaiian submission expert, Falaniko “Niko” Vitale (26-8), in a featured middleweight (185 lb. limit) contest.

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), who will battle Donnie Liles (11-5) in a welterweight (170 lb. limit) showdown.

Broomfield Event Center doors will open for Strikeforce “Payback” at 5:30 PM MST and the preliminary card will begin at 6:30 PM MST.  The main card will commence at 8 PM MST.

About Strikeforce:
Strikeforce is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its “Shamrock vs. Gracie” event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history.  The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose’s HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265.  Since 1995, Strikeforce has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with “Shamrock vs. Gracie.”  Since then, it has co-produced the first SHOWTIME PPV mixed martial arts event in history with its world championship “Shamrock vs. Baroni” card on June 22, 2007 followed by the first-ever mixed martial arts event at the world-famous Playboy Mansion on September 29, 2007.  On April 12th of this year, Strikeforce launched the first-ever 52 week MMA series on one of the four major television networks in The U.S. – NBC.


Mike Afromowitz, Strikeforce – (917) 566-8754 or

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