Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) and mixed martial arts have become a significant spectator sport in the United States. With UFC 145 between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans on tap for this Saturday and a subsequent UFC on Fox event set for May 5, the ferocious sport continues to punch its way into the American mainstream.

Our Sports Movie of the Week, ‘Warrior,’ may eventually be identified as the first quality film capable of delivering a realistic dramatization of mixed martial arts fighting.

In the 2011 film, ex-Marine Tommy Conlon (Tom Hardy) returns to his hometown of Pittsburgh and engages his father Paddy (Nick Nolte), a former boxer and recovered alcoholic. Tommy finds his way into the mixed martial arts and discovers Sparta, a tournament with a $5 million prize. While still dealing with the residual mental anguish from years of abuse at the hands of his father, Tommy asks his dad to help train him for the competition. Meanwhile, his older brother Brendan (Joel Edgerton), a former MMA fighter estranged from the family, returns to the ring in an attempt to provide for his wife and children. Brendan soon enters the tournament, and it’s a matter of time before the two brothers meet.

Five Reasons to Watch ‘Warrior’

1. Nick Nolte’s performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

2. The impeccable and impressive physical condition of both Hardy and Edgerton should be a billed member of the cast. Their physiques are crucial in giving the film a basis of authenticity.

3. As much about the inner workings of a dysfunctional family as it is about mixed martial arts, the film eschews the contrived sequences present in some sports films.

4. The story and personality of Tommy Conlon was based on United States Marine Sergeant Ewan G.P. Pennington.

5. Olympic gold medalist and pro wrestler Kurt Angle plays Russian fighter ‘Koba.’

Click the play button to watch the original trailer of the film below: