UFC and PFL are the two most common mixed martial arts (MMA) franchises worldwide. Both have their unique take on the sport, but there are also many similarities. UFC became the world’s largest promotion after being founded in 1993.

Ever since then, MMA fans from all over the world have flocked to UFC events. The promotion has been so successful that it has built a huge roster of fighters.

Many talks lately have been about the UFC and their newest competitor in PFL. The two companies have different approaches to fighting, scoring, weight classes, and more. The UFC has been around for over 20 years and is the biggest brand in MMA.

The PFL, on the other hand, is a fairly new MMA brand launched in the last few years.

It gained quite a bit of popularity with its first two events but was met with much criticism for its last few events.

History and Background of UFC and PFL

UFC was founded in 1993 and has held over 1,600 fights since then. PFL was founded in 2018, making it less than half the age of UFC’s 25 years.

UFC is a mixed martial arts promotion company that hosts live events around the world featuring professional fighters competing in different weight classes and disciplines.

PFL is also a mixed martial arts promotion company launched in 2018. But unlike its competitor, it does not host live events; instead, it broadcasts fights on television or online streaming services like ESPN+.

The fighters who compete under PFL rules must adhere to stricter regulations than those used by other organizations such as Bellator MMA or ONE Championship.

Differences in Fighting Formats Between UFC and PFL

The UFC and PFL are two fighting leagues that offer a variety of fighters the opportunity to compete in professional MMA. While the UFC is known for its more traditional format, PFL has taken things further with its unique approach to combat sports.

The following points highlight some key differences between these two organizations:

Differences in Scoring and Ranking Systems

The scoring system is also different. The UFC uses a 10-point must system, where judges can only award a maximum of 10 points per round. If one fighter wins a round by greater than 10 points, he or she will get all 30 points for that round.

On the other hand, PFL uses a 3-point must system, which awards 5 points to each fighter if they win the round (20 total possible points). Fighters can get a bonus point if they knockout or submission to the opponents.

PFL uses a more traditional boxing-style scoring system. The PFL also has a different ranking system, which considers a fighter’s win-loss record and the number of finishes and submissions they have.

Another difference is in the way the two organizations score fights. In UFC, the judges score each round, and the fighter with the most points at the end of the fight is the winner.

In PFL, however, the judges score each strike, and the fighter with the most points at the end of the fight is the winner. This difference can lead to very different results regarding who wins and loses fights.

Differences in Weight Classes

UFC has 14 weight classes. PFL has 6 weight classes. Each of the UFC’s 14 weight classes has 3 divisions: light heavyweight, middleweight, and welterweight.

In PFL’s five-division system (identical to that of the WBC), each division has three categories: lightweight/welterweight, middleweight/light heavyweight, and super heavyweight/heavyweight (men only).

The 165 lb. class is unique to UFC because it allows fighters who may otherwise be too small for 170 lbs., but too big for 155 lbs., an opportunity to compete at their natural size without having their strength or speed compromised by weight cut issues during fight week.

Differences in Rounds

The UFC and PFL differ in the number of rounds that are fought. The UFC has three or five rounds, while the PFL has three. The latter organization also has a 10-round format for its main events.

In addition to these differences in a round structure, both organizations allow for additional time, if needed, by their fighters during the competition:

  • In UFC or Bellator fights, there is 1 minute between each round where the opponent can recover from any damage suffered during previous rounds (referred to as “the stool”).
  • In Bellator fights only (not including tournament finals), there are 3 minutes after every second round where fighters can rest before heading back into battle again (this is referred to as “the cage”).

Differences in Rules and Regulations

There are several differences between the UFC and PFL, including rules and regulations.

Differences in Striking Techniques

There are many differences in the striking techniques between UFC and PFL. For instance, in UFC, fighters can use various strikes, including punches, elbows, knees, and kicks, while in PFL, only punches and kicks are allowed. This makes a big difference in the way the two organizations approach striking.

However, when you look at the differences between the two styles of fighting, they are not as drastic as you may think. For example, both organizations use striking techniques such as jabs, crosses, and kicks, but they differ slightly in executing these attacks.

In addition to this difference in technique execution between UFC and PFL fighters, there are also some differences regarding what types of strikes each organization allows their competitors to use during the competition (for example, elbows).

Differences in Grappling Techniques

The main difference between the grappling techniques of UFC and PFL is that UFC fighters tend to focus on submissions, while PFL fighters focus on takedowns. UFC fighters want to force their opponents to tap out, while PFL fighters want to take them down to the mat and keep them there.

UFC fighters grapple more aggressively, going for submissions from the start. PFL fighters are more patient, looking to take their opponents down first and then work for a submission. This difference in approach can be traced back to the different rulesets of the two organizations.

UFC fighters can use strikes while in the clinch, which means they can go for submissions immediately. PFL fighters cannot use strikes in the clinch, so they must take their opponents down first. This difference in the rules encourages different grappling styles from the fighters of each organization.

Differences in Fouls

There are some major differences between UFC and PFL regarding fouls and penalties.

  • The first one is that PFL has a warning system, while UFC does not. So if you commit a foul that isn’t too bad, you get a warning instead of being disqualified immediately, like in UFC fights (although they also have an immediate disqualification system).
  • Another difference is their point deduction systems: PFL deducts points from your scorecard after each round, just like boxing.

However, since these are only five-minute rounds (compared to ten minutes for boxing), there’s more time for fighters who commit many infractions during their match-up to recover before the next round begins!

Differences in Fighter Contracts

  • UFC contracts are exclusive, meaning the fighter can’t fight for another MMA promotion while under contract with the UFC. PFL contracts are non-exclusive, allowing fighters to compete in other professional promotions like Bellator or ONE Championship while still competing in their respective weight class at PFL events.
  • UFC contracts last one year and require six fights over that span of time (three fights per year). A fighter must win two out of three bouts before he/she can renegotiate an extension with his/her promoter or become a free agent again.

PFL has a two-year contract period where each competitor must complete three fights within those two years (one per season). If you don’t fight your entire contracted schedule, then there’s no chance for an extension or early release from your deal.

Differences in Fighter Compensation

  • UFC Fighters are paid base salaries, wins, and performance bonuses. UFC fighters also get PPV points that they can use to buy things like cars or houses.
  • PFL Fighters are paid a base salary and win bonuses. They don’t get PPV points or pay-per-view bonuses like their UFC counterparts.

Differences in Sponsorship

  • UFC fighters can sponsor their shorts, banner, and walkout shirt.
  • PFL fighters can also sponsor their shorts, banner, and walkout shirt.
  • UFC fighters are allowed gloves with a logo (but not the hand itself).
  • PFL fighters are also allowed gloves with a logo (but not the hand itself).

Differences in Fighter Benefits

  • UFC fighter benefits include health insurance, 401k, and profit sharing.
  • PFL fighter benefits include health insurance.

Notable Fighters and Champions in UFC and PFL

The UFC is home to some of the most recognizable names in combat sports. You’ll find Khabib Nurmagomedov, Conor McGregor, Georges St-Pierre, Ronda Rousey, and many other fighters who have reached stardom and become household names.

PFL was founded by Donnal Thompson in 2018 as an alternative to the UFC for fans who want something different from what they’ve expected from MMA promotions over the years.

While it doesn’t have as many household names yet (though Ray Cooper III might be one), PFL has attracted some notable veterans like Jon Fitch and Andre Harrison, who are looking to make a name for themselves inside this new promotion octagon-shaped cage.

Differences in the Business Model of UFC and PFL

UFC is a private company, while PFL is publicly traded. This has several ramifications for the two organizations. UFC monopolizes MMA in the US, but PFL does not.

If you want to watch MMA fights on TV or pay-per-view (PPV), it’s UFC or nothing. This allows them to charge higher prices than their competitors and make more money from PPV events like Ronda Rousey vs Amanda Nunes ($1 million).

On the other hand, being privately owned means they don’t have to disclose as much information about their finances as public companies do; this makes it hard to know exactly how profitable they are compared with competitors like Bellator MMA or ONE Championship International Ltd.

Here are the UFC & PFL Business models,



The biggest difference between the business model of UFC and PFL is that UFC relies heavily on pay-per-view events while PFL does not. UFC has built its business around pay-per-view events, typically only available on cable or satellite TV. This has been a successful model for UFC, but it has also resulted in high costs for fans who want to watch UFC events.

TV Rights

UFC has a contract with FOX and ESPN. UFC is on Fox Sports 1, Fox, and ESPN. The main difference between the two organizations is that UFC contracts with FOX, while PFL doesn’t yet.

However, they have deals with NBCSN and Facebook Watch (for English-language broadcasts) and DAZN (for French-language broadcasts).

UFC also has an exclusive deal with ESPN, including live events from its Fight Night series and shoulder programming like “Dana White’s Contender Series”. This means fans can expect to see more MMA action coming from these companies than ever before!

UFC Fight Pass

UFC Fight Pass is a subscription-based service that offers live events, original programming, and exclusive content to those who pay the monthly fee. UFC Fight Pass is available in the US and Canada.

UFC Fight Pass offers live streaming of their events and other content such as fight libraries, weigh-ins, press conferences, interviews with fighters, and more.

They also have access to non-UFC events such as Invicta FC (an all-female MMA promotion) or Bellator Kickboxing, which means if you want to watch something other than just UFC fights, then you can do so through this service!

There’s also a 7-day free trial period where you can use it without paying anything before deciding if it’s worth paying for or not; how awesome is that!?


Season Format

The PFL’s business model is very different from that of the UFC. The UFC has a “pay-per-view” model, where fans can purchase individual events or subscribe to a monthly or annual package. The PFL, on the other hand, sells annual “season passes,” which give fans access to all regular season and playoff events, as well as the championship event.

The PFL season format is also very different from that of the UFC. The UFC schedule is made up of several individual events that take place throughout the year. The PFL season, on the other hand, takes place over the course of a few months, with all regular season and playoff events taking place within that time frame.


The UFC app is a great way to keep up with all the latest UFC news, but it costs $9.99 monthly. The PFL app is free to download, but you must pay for each event you want to watch. This can be a bit expensive, but it gives you the option to watch only the events you’re interested in.

It’s free to download, offers a live stream of all PFL events, and can be viewed in English, Spanish, or Portuguese.

ESPN Broadcast Deal

  • PFL will air on ESPN+
  • PFL will air on ESPN2
  • PFL will air on ESPN

The Professional Fighters League (PFL) has a different business model than the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). The PFL has a broadcast deal with ESPN, a major difference between the two organizations.

Endeavor Group Holdings own the UFC, while the PFL is privately owned. The PFL also has a different points system, allowing fighters to earn more points and move up the ranks. The PFL also has a playoff system, which the UFC does not have.

PFL is a new promotion company, so it is still experimenting with different models to find what works best. The PFL is also targeting a different audience than the UFC, as it hopes to attract more casual fans interested in following a season-long story arc rather than just purchasing individual events.

The PFL’s business model and season format differ greatly from the UFC’s. While the UFC has a long-established model that has been successful, the PFL is still experimenting and trying to find the best way to operate. Only time will tell if the PFL’s approach is more successful than the UFC’s.


UFC vs PFL: Differences and Facts The UFC and PFL are two of the biggest MMA promotions in the world. They both have their own unique fighting formats, scoring systems, and rules. They also differ greatly when it comes down to fighter compensation and sponsorship deals.

In summary, the UFC and PFL are two very different MMA organizations. While the UFC is arguably the most recognizable MMA organization in the world, the PFL is still growing and looking for a way to grab some of the spotlights the UFC has held for so many years.

Golam Muktadir is a passionate sports fan and a dedicated movie buff. He has been writing about both topics for over a decade and has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share with his readers. Muktadir has a degree in journalism and has written for several well-known publications, including Surprise Sports.