How Long Does a UFC Event Last?

Your friend just invited you to watch the UFC fights at his place today, and you agreed to go, but unfortunately, you do not know how long the whole fighting competition would last. Now you’re wondering, how long does a UFC event last? Well, you are in the right place; let’s look into how long the UFC event lasts.

From start to finish, a UFC event usually lasts roughly around 6 hours. This entails a 6-hour period beginning with the first scheduled bout on the early prelims (about 7:00 p.m.) and continuing with the conclusion of the main event (usually ending after 12:00 am). On the other hand, the event’s main card typically lasts roughly for around 2 hours and features about 5 fights.

Generally speaking, there are many factors that go into the total length of a UFC event. The above time is roughly the length of the prelims, and the main event. In the rest of this article, let’s discuss details regarding the length of a UFC event, what specific elements it consists of, how long do they last, when can you expect the fighting event to end, and many other exciting features of UFC events.

What Is a UFC Event?

The Ultimate Fighting Championship Events or UFC, are specially organized fighting competitions to determine the most potent martial art in a contest with few rules and no weight classes between competitors of several fighting disciplines such as Boxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Karate, and Taekwondo, among others. The UFC has been organized since 1993, and the UFC events have been divided into several different formats as,

  • “Numbered” events
  • “UFC on ESPN” events
  • “UFC on Fox” events
  • “Fight Night” events
  • “The Ultimate Fighter Finale” events
  • “UFC on FX”
  • “UFC on Fuel TV” events
  • “UFC Live” events

Above is a short overview of the UFC events and how they are divided into and broadcast around the world. Next, let us see what they consist of and for how long they actually last.

Also read: Bellator vs. UFC – What Is The Difference?

What Do UFC Events Include?

The UFC event usually consists of 3 parts:

  • The early prelim fights: These typically have three to four fights and are not generally televised unless on demand because they do not attract too much attention.
  • Prelim fights: These are more often televised than early prelim fights and depending on the event, they consist of either four or five fights
  • Main card fights: These fights always broadcast on television because this is the one which attracts the most interest and are the most important fights of the night. This consists of usually five fights.

How Long Does Each Part of the Ufc Event Last? (Early Prelims, Prelims, and Main Event)

The Early Prelims are usually scheduled to begin at 6:30 or 7 pm, featuring three fights and rarely four. As each fight can only last for 15 minutes, they take a maximum possible fight time of 45 minutes because the Prelims was scheduled to begin at 8 pm. Also, in the Early Prelims, the fighters are not given post-fight interviews, and they do not get announced.

The Prelims was scheduled to start at 8 pm, and end before the Main Event which begins at around 10 pm. Also, Prelims typically has four fights, and sometimes on rare occasions, it has five fights. Like Early Prelims, the fights are scheduled for 15 minutes , which means the maximum possible flight time is around 1 hour. The main gap between the Regular and the Early Prelims is that the Prelim fighters get reported in the Octagon and get interviewed within the Octagon after their fight. Due to this reason, Prelims take additional time than Early Prelims of around 1 hour and 30 minutes.

The Main Card fights are the most anticipated of the evening. There are usually five of them every event. However, the number can vary depending on the conditions. Main card fights take longer time, as they include better fighters, and draw a larger audience. It usually starts at around 10 pm and ends at around 12:30 am. A main card fight can take up to 25 minutes, consisting of five fights, which makes the total duration of the Main Card fights longer than the former two.

The Main Card with set fight time can vary from one hour and twenty five minutes to two or three hours. The Main Card fights themselves last for around an hour and a half, and if you include the announcements, fighters’ walkout, post-fight and other interviews, and the UFC belt award ceremonies, it can last for around three hours.

Also read: How Does Scoring Work in UFC?

Can a UFC Event End Earlier Than Usual or Take Longer?

Yes, a UFC event can end earlier than expected, reducing the length which usually lasts for six hours. For example, the UFC 142 which was held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 was the shortest UFC event. The event had a total of ten fights, including one early prelim, four prelims and five main card fights – with the fight between José Aldo and Chad Mendes being the Main Card event.

What happened was that just three fights out of ten reached the distance, with the three fights being the lone early prelim and two prelim fights, each lasting around 15 minutes. One main card fight made it to the third round, but it was called off after about two minutes. In the first round, the other 6 matches all concluded swiftly, with 3 of them ending in less than ninety seconds!

The 5 Main fights lasted only twenty-three minutes, and the complete duration of the UFC event was about 105 minutes, which was less than two hours!

On the other hand, the longest was the UFC Sydney event which was held in Australia in 2017, where the event lasted a total 7 hours, making it the longest UFC fight event in history! This UFC event had a total of 13 fights which had three early prelims, with one of them ending in the final third round, four prelims, and six main card fights – with the event lasting for around 7 hours.

Also read: What Happens When a UFC Fighter Does Not Make Weight?


To summarize, numerous factors can influence the length of an entire UFC event, the most important of which being the number of fights that finish early.

In conclusion, a UFC event’s Main Card usually lasts around 2-3 hours, beginning at 10 p.m. and concluding at around 12:30 a.m. An entire UFC event, on the other hand, stays around six hours from start to finish. Around 6:30 or 7 p.m., the Early Prelims begin, following the Prelims which starts at 8:00 pm, with the anticipated final fights of the Main Event finishing at around 12:30 am.

I hope that this post helped you educate yourself about and how long a UFC event can last. Also, you can use this as a backing when organizing your time if you decide to watch the next UFC event.

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