The sport of mixed martial arts is often characterized by back-and-forth bouts between two evenly matched opponents.
One man strikes, the other counters. One man goes for a takedown, the other sprawls.
...And then there are those times when fighters are grossly mismatched, and the ensuing battle is downright difficult to watch.
A vicious beatdown is a horrendous sight, but it is polarizing just the same.
To honor those moments when you just couldn't stifle your disposition for the macabre, I present to you the 20 worst beatdowns of 2012.
Start the slideshow, and enjoy!
HAH! Just kidding.
Move along, folks.
Mark Hunt vindicated chubby dudes worldwide in this one, folks.
As Hunt stepped into the Octagon against superhero-like Cheick Kongo, one could not help but laugh at the difference in stature.
Hunt looked like a dude who enjoyed a nice Cheeto or two on his mom's couch while watching the latest episode of Dragon Ball Z, while Kongo looked like something chiseled out of onyx.
As we've seen throughout MMA history, though, looks don't decide fights, and Hunt proved he was more than just a chunk, needing just 10 strikes to fold Kongo into an unconscious heap of muscle.
He came out blazing, and it paid off. This was a humiliating loss for Kongo and a signature win for the "Super Samoan."
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
The demise of Miguel Torres has been brutal to watch, and this slide was made painfully evident by the raging fists of young bantamweight standout Michael McDonald.
"Mayday" blitzed Torres in Round 1 of their UFC 155 matchup and sent his foe into a comfy slumber on the Octagon floor.
A beatdown is made particularly painful when one can destroy his opponent at his own game.
At UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller, Alan Belcher did just that, as he played the most dangerous game of footsies in history with leglock specialist Rousimar Palhares early in Round 1 of their encounter.
Palhares was fresh, neither fighter was slippery with sweat yet, and the stage was set for another knee-breaking submission courtesy of Palhares.
Belcher showed excellent defense, however, and he bested the Brazilian at his own game. Soon after he decided playtime was over, Belcher unleashed some ground-and-pound from Hades and left Palhares in a crumbled and confused mess.
That, my friends, is a beatdown.
The women can bring the heat too, bro.
At Bellator 83, Jessica Eye destroyed the promotion's 115-pound champion Zoila Gurgel (yes, Jorge's wife) in less than one minute with a nasty arm-triangle choke.
A limp, unconscious foe is the No. 1 sign of a beatdown, and this one certainly qualifies.
Let's get bloody, shall we?
At UFC 143, Fabricio Werdum made a statement of epic proportions.
Known to most MMA fans as a Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace, Werdum made his return to the UFC Octagon an interesting and scary one, as he beat Nelson's mug to a pulp with strikes of all shapes and sizes.
The Muay Thai attack was brutal, and Werdum landed 91 strikes at a ridiculous efficiency of 67 percent for the bout's three-round duration.
Nelson showed he has a great chin, but his brain probably wishes he called this one quits a bit earlier.
As a Nate Diaz fan, it pains me to admit how badly the Stockton badass was handled by Benson Henderson at UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz.
Diaz had but one fleeting moment of success, a leglock attempt, and even that was short-lived and never really tight, anyway.
To call this a beatdown is no stretch—Henderson went 8-for-12 in takedown attempts and landed 67 percent of his significant strikes for the full 25 minutes of action.
In addition to this offense, Henderson thwarted any attempt at offense made by Diaz and frustrated the pride of Stockton from start to finish.
I'm ready to say it: Bendo whooped Nate's a**.
There's the Nate Diaz we all love!
At UFC on Fox: Diaz vs. Miller, Nathan Diaz handed rugged New Jersey-based lightweight Jim Miller his first career submission loss with a crazy-tight guillotine choke.
That wasn't the worst of it, though.
Diaz landed almost 100 strikes in less than 10 minutes and proved that he could thoroughly outclass Miller wherever the fight went.
For Miller, this fight is one to forget.
If you knock out Joey Beltran, you're doing something very, very right.
Lavar Johnson landed a ridiculous 65 significant strikes in less than one round in his matchup with "The Mexicutioner," and this one was decided from its onset.
Johnson pinned Beltran against the cage and teed off with punch after ferocious punch until Beltran's brain decided enough was enough and flipped the switch to "off."
If you weren't already aware, Lavar Johnson is one terrifying dude.
This was a comically one-sided matchup.
At UFC on Fuel TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger, T.J. Dillashaw ragdolled and brutalized Wael Watson for 15 agonizing minutes of horror.
Personally, I don't find a decision win quite as convincing as a good stoppage, but this is one of those rare instances where the beatdown was made worse through its duration.
Check out these fightmetric stats, and pay close attention to Round 2.
I have no idea what Henry Martinez was doing in the Octagon with Daron Cruickshank, and to be frank, he will never know, either.
Cruickshank scrambled his opponent's brains early and often, and he capped off his efforts with a picture-perfect head kick knockout in Round 2.
Watching a dude get beat up like this is a little difficult to stomach, but this is what they sign up for. Sometimes you're delivering the beatdown, sometimes you're receiving it.
Unless, of course, you are...
These four frames accurately sum up "The Spider's" latest foray into the light heavyweight division.
Frame one: "Go ahead, bro, I'll let you put me against the cage. This is where you want to be, right?"
Frame two: "Are you going to do something? Come on; I'm giving you your chance!"
Frame three: "Yeah, you're not going to hit me, are you? All right, I guess I'll finish this."
Frame four: "Yeah, I finished this."
Silva can humiliate opponents like few others, and there is no doubt that his beatdown of Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153 was one of the year's finest.
Holy suplexes, Batman!
Rustam Khabilov's performance against Vinc Pichel at The Ultimate Fighter 16 Finale still gives me nightmares.
This was not just a victory—this was a beatdown in its purest sense. The sheer caveman level of aggression display by Khabilov was a sight to behold, and the results were catastrophic.
After landing 19-of-25 strikes in the opening frame and landing all but one takedown attempt, Khabilov unleashed the fury with a wicked suplex that knocked Pichel out cold.
A rarity in MMA, this suplex knockout will stand on UFC highlight reels for many years to come.
Want to add insult to injury in this one?
Pichel landed one strike. Not one significant strike—one strike, period.
I went back and forth on this one.
Is a seven-second knockout really a beatdown, or is it just one perfectly placed punch?
Well, why can't it be both?
Ryan Jimmo's Octagon appearance at UFC 149 was brief, and it was vicious. With one right hand (technically it was two, but we all saw how this one went), Jimmo sent Perosh to the canvas wearing a rigor-mortis grin for the ages.
When you leave your opponent like this in less than 10 seconds, you qualify for "beatdown" status in my book.
Without a doubt, this is the unlikeliest beatdown on the list.
At UFC 155, many fans and critics picked Cain Velasquez to best Junior dos Santos with his smothering wrestling ability, but I doubt many saw the matchup being quite this one-sided.
Dos Santos had absolutely nothing for his challenger after getting clipped early in Round 1, and Velasquez maintained a constant barrage of punches and takedowns for the bout's 25-minute duration.
Here's a neat stat for you: In defeating dos Santos at UFC 155, Velasquez became the first UFC fighter to record triple-digit significant strikes (111) and double-digit takedowns (11).
In this historic beatdown, Velasquez left dos Santos supremely frustrated, defeated, and much, much uglier.
Remember that whole "beating your opponent at his own game" spiel I gave you earlier?
Does out-wrestling a wrestler, out ground-and-pounding a ground-and-pound specialist, and out-bullying a bully qualify?
Yes, yes it does...to the tune of No. 4 on our list, in fact.
Cain Velasquez fought twice in 2012, and both performances were worthy of top-5 status on my list.
Needless to say, the man did something right this year.
His first outing of the year, a UFC 146 matchup with Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, was so grotesque, even Quentin Tarantino squirmed a bit.
After securing a quick takedown, Cain put this one away swiftly and viciously with his world-class ground-and-pound.
Some nice punches and elbows opened up a huge cut on the Brazilian's forehead, and the end was just moments away from here.
There was blood...Oh, was there ever blood.
No UFC-hosted fight of 2012 was this painful to watch, and I legitimately hope 2013 brings nothing of this magnitude.
Maldonado's chin was his greatest enemy in this fight, as he absorbed power shot after power shot from Glover Teixeira and simply refused to fall down.
Texieira landed 59 percent of his 145 significant strikes thrown and peppered in three converted takedowns en route to the most one-sided UFC beatdown of 2012.
This one was flat-out gross.
Texeira's fists and elbows were only good for No. 2 on our list though, so what could possibly top it?
Click on, friends.
I just...I don't even know how to describe this one.
Let's get this out of the way early: Referee Jeff Malott should never be allowed inside the cage again. This was reckless endangerment, and his pitiful display resulted in a ridiculous amount of unnecessary punishment for Joe Warren.
Pat Curran caught Warren with a knee, and the following flurry was...well, just check it out.
A picture is worth 1,000 words, but that GIF leaves you speechless.
With his flurry of doom over the wounded Joe Warren at Bellator 60, Pat Curran earns the top beatdown of 2012.