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How Long Does a UFC Event Last?

How Long Does a UFC Event Last?

Ultimate Fighting Championship, abbreviated as UFC, is the organization for the promotion of mixed martial arts. They are responsible for making certain rules for the MMA tournaments. It is considered as the global leader in combat sports. However, here is the question that arises most frequently. People want to know how long do UFC event lasts. Whether there is a specific time limit or it depends upon the BJJ player fight.

If we say that, it lasts for about 6 hours. This would be the correct statement at all. However, it is not the answer players and the audience look for. There is too much to discuss and know about the UFC events. Knowing the 6 hours would provide no benefit until you have an idea about how it is divided into categories.

This article is entirely about the UFC event duration. We are going to indulge ourselves in the in-depth details about the UFC events. Read ahead to know about the UFC event categorization and the event details.

Understanding A UFC Event

UFC Events are specifically arranged combat events where multiple fighters participate in official battles. These events have been held since 1993 and are the primary “source” of UFC fights globally. Each organization hosts its own events, but UFCs are undoubtedly the most renowned.

UFC events are divided into seven distinct formats:

  • “Numbered” events, currently broadcasted on pay-per-view, with some exceptions
  • “UFC on ESPN” events, currently broadcasted on ESPN.
  • “UFC on Fox” events, previously aired on Fox.
  • “Fight Night” occasions, formerly aired on Spike, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2, or UFC Fight Pass. Currently airing on ESPN+.
  • “Finale” events of “The Ultimate Fighter” were formerly aired on platforms such as Spike, FX, Fox Sports 1, or UFC Fight Pass. Will start on ESPN+ in 2020
  • “UFC on FX” events, previously broadcasted on FX.
  • “UFC on Fuel TV” events, previously broadcasted on Fuel TV.
  • “UFC Live” events, previously broadcasted on Versus.

Most of the so-called “numbered” events have been broadcast on pay-per-view. Although there have been a few exceptions not related to the fights themselves, it is still airing. 

Segments Of UFC Events

A UFC Event usually comprises three categories. It includes:

  • Early prelims 
  • Prelims
  • UFC main cards

Early prelims typically feature three or four fights and are not always part of UFC events due to their lack of popularity. They can be viewed but are usually not televised unless on demand.

Prelim fights are commonly included in UFC Events and consist of either 4 or 5 fights, depending on the event. They are more frequently televised than early prelim fights.

Main card fights are the highlight fights of the night. There are typically five of them, and they are always aired on TV because of their high viewership. 

Duration of UFC Events

So, what is the duration of a UFC event? On average, a UFC Event lasts approximately six hours, from the commencement of the early prelims to the conclusion of the main card fights. The initial prelim matches typically start at about 7:00 pm local time and wrap up past midnight, following the concluding main card bouts.

This is a helpful guide for UFC enthusiasts. It helps you understand how much time you need to allocate and how many snacks you need to prepare. It’s also important to know the time zone differences between your location and where the fight occurs if you plan to watch it live. However, if you prefer watching reruns, this isn’t as crucial.

Remember that these are the total durations you’ll experience if you’re a dedicated fan who enjoys watching the entire event from beginning to end. This likely means you’ll need to spend more money initially, as most early prelims are only available on demand.

Regular broadcasts typically begin with prelim matches or main card fights, depending on the channel and their agreement with the UFC. This means you’ll seldom experience the entire six hours at home or a sports bar. Depending on the number of fights and lengths, you’ll generally see at least a few hours less than those who prefer to watch at the venue.

The timetable is consistently fixed, with the preliminary rounds commencing approximately at 8:00 pm local time. It means early prelims kick off approximately an hour or an hour and a half earlier, depending on the number of fights. The prelims and main card fights schedule remains consistent, allowing you a four-hour broadcast from home or at a sports bar. So, if you don’t pay to watch the early prelims, you can watch these 4 hours broadcast.

So, be prepared to start around 8:00 pm and be ready to head home or go to bed after midnight. It depends on how long the fighters take to complete their matches.

Duration Of UFC Segments

Now that we’ve provided you with the total durations let’s look at how long each segment of a UFC event typically lasts. So, you can know the precise details of everything that interests you:

Early Prelim

As previously mentioned, early prelims typically consist of three, but sometimes four bouts. These matches are not as appealing as they often involve newcomers or fighters with few fights (or negative records). Early prelims are generally scheduled to commence between 6:30 pm and 7:00 pm, ensuring that the prelims can begin at the pre-set time of 8:00 pm. 

Every fight is strictly limited to 15 minutes (comprising 3 rounds of 5 minutes each), which implies that the total length of the early prelims is either 45 or 60 minutes. It depends upon the number of planned fights. 

Furthermore, early prelim fighters get little fame, and they do not conduct interviews, which significantly reduces the overall duration. So, early prelims start between 6:30 pm and 7:00 pm and last approximately an hour, allowing the prelims to commence at 8:00 pm as planned.


Prelims feature more significant fights, but they are never championship matches. That’s why their duration is shorter than the main card fights. Prelims usually include 4 or 5 bouts, also capped at 15 minutes max (i.e., three five-minute rounds). This suggests that the preliminary bouts typically span from one hour to ninety minutes.

Prelim fighters are announced and conduct interviews, which adds a bit to the schedule, but not significantly. They typically start at 8:00 p.m. and end at 9:30 p.m., about half an hour before the main card fights, as planned for 10:00 p.m.

UFC Main Card 

Main card bouts are the most eagerly awaited fights of the evening. Generally, there are five of them per event, but the number can fluctuate based on various factors. Main card fights last longer, feature superior fighters, and draw more spectators. A primary card match can extend to a maximum of 25 minutes, it consists of five rounds, each lasting five minutes. This extends the total duration of these fights beyond the previous two. 

Main card bouts usually span around two hours, including the declarations, the discussions, interviews, and the belt presentation ceremonies. The battles themselves lasted for around an hour and a half. Theoratically (considering all the additional components), the whole segment could extend beyond three hours. However, they usually conclude around midnight, meaning that their total duration is approximately 120 minutes.

Longest And Shortest UFC Event Ever

As you already know, UFC events last for 6 hours. It was approximately a bare minimum time. Now let’s see what was the longest and the shortest event ever. How much time did they take to wind up? It will be exciting for you as well to know whether the event ever lasted for less than 6 hours or more than it. 

UFC Shortest Event

First, explore the shortest UFC events with us. The UFC 142, which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012, was the shortest event till now. It had 10 fights scheduled, which were one early prelim, four prelims, and five main cards. The fight was between Chad Mendes and José Aldo. What happened during that event was the one early prelim, and two prelim fights lasted for 15 minutes only. 

One main card reached the third round, but unfortunately, he fought for 2 minutes only. The five main card fights took 23 minutes, lasting the whole event for only 105 minutes. Although these short fights were worth watching, they still disappointed its audience.

UFC Longest Event

The MMA history witnessed the longest UFC event of 7 hours. It was held in Australia in 2017. It had a total of 13 fights, which were three early prelims, four prelims, and six main UFC cards. Out of the 13 fights, only three ended without going to distance. 9 out of the ten remaining fights had the three rounds. 

Moreover, the primary fight has five rounds, surprising the audience with their enthralling performances. The event lasted for 7 hours, making it the longest UFC event ever.


To summarize the entire discussion, you must understand that many factors influence the UFC event. These factors can increase or decrease the UFC event time. The event’s main card mostly starts at 10:00 p.m. and lasts for almost 2 to 3 hours. 

However, the total duration is 6 hours. Then, the early prelims last for one and a half hours. It starts at approximately 6:30 pm and ends at 8:00 pm. The event’s final fight starts afterward, lasting till 12:30 a.m. Now, you can easily understand how long a UFC event lasts. If you are interested in watching it, you can guess exactly when will your main cards play in the final fight.

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