How Long Do UFC Fights Last? (Research Analysis!)

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If you’re looking to find out exactly how long fights last in the UFC, including for reach fight and the whole event, then this article will answer it all for you in detail.

If you need a short answer, how long do UFC fights last?:

A UFC fight lasts for 15 minutes in a three-round fight or 25 minutes in a five-round Championship or main fight. With the 1-minute breaks between rounds, the total fight time on the TV can be either 17 minutes or 29 minutes total.

Keep reading if you’re ready to dive into the details and see some fascinating data points from actual UFC events.

How Long UFC Fights Last Typically

Two male fighters competing in a UFC octagon

A UFC fight typically lasts for 17 minutes or 29 minutes, including the breaks between rounds. The duration could get longer if the referee calls any timeouts. It also depends on whether the fight is a regular matchup or the main fight on the fight card.

But let’s look at an actual example of a recent UFC event, UFC 269. The table below shows the actual total fight times of each fight of the main card:

FightRoundsTotal Fight TimeMethod
Charles Oliveira (W) vs. Dustin Poirier311:02Submission
Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Pena (W)28:26Submission
Geoff Neal (W) vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio315:00Decision
Kai Kara France (W) vs. Cody Garbrandt13:21KO/TKO
Raulian Paiva vs. Sean O’Malley (W)14:42KO/TKO
Total: 42:31
Average: 08:30

As you can see, the actual fight time varies a lot as it all depends on what’s happening in each fight, as they all have unique events and winning methods that change things up quite a lot. These numbers don’t include the one-minute breaks fighters have between rounds or any of the commentary and advertising breaks.

From this same data, we can estimate that each fight lasted about eight and a half minutes on average. But some fights can last just seconds, and others can go the whole distance of a five-rounder (of five minutes each) and total up to 25 minutes fight-time.

How Long Do UFC Fights Last On TV?

The main card of a UFC event usually lasts about 3 hours on TV. If the event has several fights that use up all their rounds, the entire event could be up to 6 hours long, including all fight durations and advertising breaks.

How Do UFC Fights Usually End?

Most UFC fights end with the judge’s decision after all rounds of a fight is complete. Winning by technical knockout is a close second which is where the referee steps in because one fighter is unable to keep defending themselves in the fight.

Fights can end up on the feet with a TKO or KO and sometimes with both fighters grappling down on the UFC octagon floor by submission.

How Long UFC Events Last Typically

Two male fighters touching gloves in a UFC octagon before a fight

An entire UFC event usually lasts anywhere for between 3 to 6 hours, depending on the size of the event and the results of the fights. The main card at the UFC is typically 1.5 hours of fight time and including all preliminary fights, it can reach over 4 hours.

If you include all commentary build-up before and after the fights as well as advertising breaks then a whole UFC event could last between 4-6 hours.

Here’s a breakdown of a usual full card at the UFC and how long it could potentially run for, including breaks between rounds:

CardFightFight DurationRounds
Main CardMain/Title Fight29:005
Main CardFight 117:003
Main CardFight 217:003
Main CardFight 317:003
Main CardFight 417:003
PrelimsPrelim Fight 117:003
PrelimsPrelim Fight 217:003
PrelimsPrelim Fight 317:003
PrelimsPrelim Fight 417:003
Early PrelimsEarly Prelim Fight 117:003
Early PrelimsEarly Prelim Fight 217:003
Early PrelimsEarly Prelim Fight 317:003
Early PrelimsEarly Prelim Fight 417:003
Early PrelimsEarly Prelim Fight 517:003
Total: 04:10:00
(4 hours 10 minutes)

As you can see, if all of the fights (including their rests between rounds) went to their maximum rounds limits, then it adds up to over four and a half hours of fight time alone. Then you add on the rest of the event media and advertisements, and it’s pretty easy to imagine a whole 6-hour event.

The above gives you an idea of how much (potential) time is spent on the fights themselves, as these include all the rounds and breaks between them. But it doesn’t include the amount of time the events spend on the introduction, build-up, commentary, interviews, and advertisements.

From the example of a typical UFC event, the main card will usually last around 1 hour and 37 minutes on fight time. The preliminary card will last 1 hour and 8 minutes. Finally, the early preliminary card will last 1 hour and 25 minutes.

What to read next

It should be clear by now how long a UFC fight can last, but perhaps it’s opened up some other questions, like how many rounds there are in the UFC or if UFC fights can be fixed or rigged – these articles below will help:

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