Paul Steinmetz, Kieran Campbell and Tyrone Howe have been drafted into the backs after the Ospreys defeat, and there are changes in the pack with Gary Longwell and Campbell Feather in for Matt Mustchin and Andy Ward up front.
The Dragons have skipper Jason Forster back from injury at openside, meaning Jamie Ringer moves to blindside. Richie Bryan switches to No 8 with Mike Owen at lock, second row Peter Sidoli dropping out of the team.
Chris Anthony, Richard Bryan, Ross Beattie and Jon Bryant face late fitness tests before the Gwent side name their replacements. Hal Luscombe is on course to return within four-to-six weeks following the shoulder injury he sustained against Glasgow a fortnight ago.
Ulster have slipped to successive defeats at Ravenhill, to Leinster and the Ospreys, but they haven't lost three competition matches in a row at the venue since season 1999/2000 when they lost all three home matches in the Heineken Cup.
Ulster have lost their last three matches against Welsh teams. The Dragons are on a run of three consecutive victories over the Scarlets, Glasgow Rugby and Leinster. Newport Gwent Dragons have won five of the last six matches they have played against Irish opposition.
The four previous matches between the two sides in all tournaments last season all went the way of the home team. Steinmetz's recall for Ulster sees international Jonny Bell dropped to the bench to make it a better-balanced midfield with Kevin Maggs at inside centre.
The move is likely to bring a better balance to the midfield with Steinmetz to be starting again.
''I hate sitting on the bench or in the stands,'' he said,. ''I just want to play, and I'm glad to get the chance again. 'I'm looking forward to playing alongside Kevin. I've very impressed with his style of play so far.''
Campbell gets a start ahead of out-of-form Neil Doak at scrum-half while Lions wing Tyrone Howe starts his first game with the unfortunate Andy Maxwell dropping out of the 22.
Ulster: B Cunningham; T Bowe, P Steinmetz, K Maggs, T Howe; D Humphreys (capt), K Campbell; S Best, P Shields, R Moore, G Longwell, M McCullough, C Feather, N Best, R Wilson
Replacements: N Brady, R McCormack, R Frost, M Mustchin, N Doak, P Wallace, J Bell
Dragons: K Morgan; G Wyatt, P Montgomery, S Tuipulotu, N Brew; C Sweeney, G Cooper; R Snow, S Jones, R Thomas, I Gough, M Owen, J Ringer, J Forster, R Bryan