How Long Are BJJ Tournament Matches? [FAQ]

In the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, the duration of tournament matches plays a pivotal role in shaping strategies and determining the outcome of bouts. Whether you’re a seasoned practitioner or just starting your BJJ journey, understanding the time limits and rules associated with BJJ tournament matches is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of match duration, time limits based on belt ranks, overtime rules, and how competitors adapt their strategies to different match lengths.

How Long are BJJ Tournament Matches?

BJJ tournament matches are like chess games with human bodies. The battle of technique, strategy, and sheer determination is as much a test of time as it is of skill. But how long are these matches?

In general, BJJ tournament matches have varying durations, typically ranging from 5 to 10 minutes. However, this duration can vary depending on factors such as belt rank, the specific tournament’s rules, and whether the match is no-gi or gi.

How Many Matches are in a BJJ Tournament?

Before we delve deeper into the duration, let’s address another common question: how many matches can one expect in a BJJ tournament?

The number of matches a competitor will have in a BJJ tournament can vary widely, depending on the tournament format, the number of participants, and the competitor’s performance. Some tournaments have a single-elimination format, where a competitor is out of the tournament after losing one match, while others use a double-elimination format, allowing competitors to lose once and continue competing in a loser’s bracket.

Are There Different Time Limits for Different Belt Ranks in BJJ Tournaments?

In BJJ, practitioners are classified into different belt ranks, from white to black. But does the duration of matches change according to your belt color?

Yes, the time limits in BJJ tournaments can vary based on belt rank. Typically, white belts have shorter match durations (around 5 minutes): blue belts 5-6 minutes depending on the age division, while purple, and brown belts get a bit more time (around 7 and 8 minutes accordingly). Black belts usually have the longest match durations, which can go up to 10 minutes. However, these time limits are not set in stone and can vary between tournaments and organizations.

Here is a full table of IBJJF of BJJ match durations according to divisions:

ADULT(Current Year) – (Birth Year) ≥ 1805 minutes – White
06 minutes – Blue
07 minutes – Purple
08 minutes – Brown
10 minutes – Black
MASTER 1(Current Year) – (Birth Year) ≥ 3005 minutes – White / Blue
06 minutes – Purple / Brown / Black
MASTER 2-736 and + years old05 minutes

Do BJJ Tournaments Have Overtime or Sudden Death Rules?

Now, let’s tackle a crucial aspect of BJJ tournaments – overtime rules. What happens when the regular match duration ends without a clear winner?

Many BJJ tournaments have overtime rules in place. These rules can vary but often involve a “sudden death” format, where the first competitor to score points, secure a submission, or achieve a dominant position is declared the winner. Overtime rounds can be quite intense and require competitors to showcase their skills quickly.

What Are the Time Limits for BJJ Matches in Major Organizations like IBJJF and ADCC?

For those seeking a standardized set of rules, organizations like the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) and the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) provide comprehensive guidelines.

In IBJJF tournaments, the typical match durations for adults are as follows:

  • White belts: 5 minutes
  • Blue belts: 6 minutes
  • Purple belts: 7 minutes
  • Brown belts: 8 minutes
  • Black belts: 10 minutes

ADCC, on the other hand, has its own set of rules, with most matches being 10 minutes in duration for both men and women. If there’s a tie at the end of regulation time, ADCC matches usually go into an overtime format where competitors take turns starting from specific positions.

Here are some main ADCC match time limit breakdowns:

– First 5 minsNo points
– Second 5 minsWith points
– Overtime 5 minsWith points
– First 10 minsNo positive
points only
– Second 10 minsWith points
– Overtimes 10 minsWith points
– First 3 minsNo points
– Second 3 minsWith points
– Overtime 3 minsWith points
FINALS8 mins
– First 4 minsNo positive
points only
– Second 4 minsWith points
– Overtime 4 minsWith points
– First 3 minsNo points
– Second 3 minsWith points
– Overtime 3 minsWith points
FINALS8 mins
– First 4 minsNo positive
points only
– Second 4 minsWith points
– Overtime 4 minsWith points

What Happens if There’s No Submission in a BJJ Tournament Match?

BJJ tournaments are all about securing submissions and demonstrating dominance, but what if a match ends without either competitor tapping out or achieving a dominant position?

In such cases, the winner is determined based on a points system or advantages accumulated during the match. Points are awarded for various positions, sweeps, and positional control. The competitor with the most points or advantages at the end of the match is declared the winner.

How Do BJJ Tournaments Handle Draws or Ties in Match Duration?

Draws can be a part of BJJ tournaments, and it’s essential to know how they are resolved.

In the case of a draw or tie, many tournaments follow a set of criteria to determine the winner. These criteria can include assessing advantages, penalties, and dominant positions achieved during the match. If no clear winner emerges from these criteria, some tournaments may declare the match a draw, while others may proceed to overtime rounds or referee decision.

How Can Competitors Adapt Their Strategies to Different Match Durations?

Adaptability is a key trait for successful BJJ competitors. But how can one adapt their strategy to the different match durations they might encounter in various tournaments?

  • For shorter matches (e.g., 5 minutes), white and blue belts should focus on securing points quickly and trying to set up submissions from dominant positions.
  • Purple and brown belts with slightly longer durations (e.g., 6-7 minutes) can afford to be more methodical, looking for opportunities to secure dominant positions and work for submissions.
  • Black belts in 10-minute matches should balance patience with aggressiveness. They have more time to wear down opponents and look for submission opportunities.


BJJ tournament match duration is a crucial aspect of the sport that can greatly influence the strategies and outcomes of bouts. Understanding the time limits based on belt ranks, overtime rules, and how draws are resolved is essential for any BJJ competitor. By adapting their strategies to different match durations, competitors can maximize their chances of success on the mat. As you continue your journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, keep in mind the clock, for it is as much your ally as your opponent.

For more in-depth information on BJJ tournament rules and regulations, you can refer to authoritative sources like the IBJJF Rule Book and the ADCC Rules and Regulations.

Remember, the mat is where the magic happens, and knowing the rules of engagement will undoubtedly help you shine in the world of BJJ. So, gear up, step on the mat, and may the clock be ever in your favor!

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