Octagon jitters—it’s an infamous term. The first time a fighter steps into the UFC’s eight-sided cage, there will always be talk of whether the emotional rush and the nerves surrounding his debut will have a profound impact on his performance.

Pundits and fans making predictions on fights will cite the jitters as a reason to doubt a fighter’s chances. And in the aftermath of a defeat, these same jitters will take part of the blame for the fighter’s downfall.

So, following each UFC event, The MMA Corner will look at the fighters who made their Octagon debuts and provide impressions on their performances and their future potential under the UFC banner. In this edition, we focus on the six newcomers from UFC Fight Night 43.

Daniel Hooker — first-round TKO victory over Ian Entwistle

It didn’t seem likely that Daniel Hooker, who has fought as large as welterweight, would make his UFC debut as a 145-pounder, but that’s exactly what the 24-year-old did. Furthermore, his performance in his Octagon debut opposite fellow newcomer Ian Entwistle, whom he thoroughly destroyed via first-round TKO, provided plenty of reasons why Hooker is best suited to continue forward in the weight class.

The 6-foot tall Strike Force Auckland product possesses a lanky frame that will be useful within the featherweight division. He’ll enjoy a four- or five-inch height edge over many of his competitors, and that could allow him to use range on the feet in an effective manner. His length also came in handy in defending against takedowns and submissions against his shorter foe. In avoiding Entwistle’s attack, Hooker was able to set up the finish—a barrage of elbows that rendered Entwistle unable to continue.

“The Hangman” now has a nice little six-fight winning streak going, but he does have four losses on his record. Those defeats include a split decision loss to Rob Lisita , but they also include fights Hooker dropped to Adam Calver, who now stands at 3-6, Sonny Brown, who has lost three fights in a row, and, most recently, Haotian Wu, a Chinese fighter with a 13-6-1 overall record bu a 2-5 mark over his last seven. The loss to Wu came in 2012, and Hooker has been perfect in the time since. Entwistle provided him with a step up in competition, and he passed that test. Hooker’s past losses suggest that he may struggle with the upper tiers of the division, but his display against Entwistle proves that he has what it takes to hang around as a low-level gatekeeper in the UFC.

Potential: Low to Medium

Ian Entwistle — first-round TKO loss to Daniel Hooker

While Hooker had his hand raised in victory, his opponent, Ian Entwistle, had his head lowered in defeat. Entwistle attempted to use a wrestling-based attack to top Hooker, but the end result was a first-round TKO loss for the Phuket-based Brit.

The 27-year-old was aggressive from the opening bell. He sought the takedown against Hooker, but couldn’t overcome Hooker’s strong takedown defense. He was creative enough to finally put Hooker on the mat, but it came via a guard pull. Entwistle was hoping to then sweep to top position, but that attempt failed. His aggression again cost him when he committed to a series of submission attempts targeting Hooker’s legs. The heel hook and inverted heel hook attempts left Entwistle wide open to a brutal assault of elbows delivered by Hooker.

The Phuket Top Team product demonstrated a lack of restraint and strategy in his attack against Hooker. He was willing to sacrifice position for a takedown and endure a beating in an attempt to secure a submission. Unless he can learn to take a more measured approach, Entwistle is going to find himself on the receiving end of a number of beatdowns in the UFC. The trouble is, a loss like the one Entwistle suffered is as good as a pink slip out of the promotion. Entwistle is probably eyeing another run on the regional and international circuit before he gets another crack inside the Octagon.

Potential: Low

Rodrigo Goiana de Lima — second-round knockout loss to Neil Magny

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde tells the story of about a man with split personality. Well, the tale could be applied to the MMA game of Rodrigo Goiana de Lima. Two distinctly different versions of “Monstro” made an appearance against Neil Magny, and one of those versions cost the former Jungle Fight welterweight champion the fight, as Magny capitalized with a second-round knockout of de Lima.

There was the Dr. Jekyll version of de Lima, featuring impressive technique and control on the mat. He remained persistent in the first frame until he took Magny to the ground. Once on the canvas, Monstro utilized excellent transitions and sweeps to dominate Magny. He was able to maintain positional control through much of the round, and he appeared to be on his way to a stellar debut.

In round two, however, Mr. Hyde showed up. Monstro chose to stand with Magny and indulge his fellow welterweight in a striking battle. That was a bad move on the Brazilian’s part. He has significant holes in his stand-up game and can be picked apart quite easily. Magny’s jab pierced through de Lima’s defenses in almost every instance, and those punches took their toll. Magny was able to use those jabs to set up the right crosses that finished the Brazilian grappler, who happens to be the brother of UFC fighter Michel Prazeres.

If the Dr. Jekyll of Monstro’s two-sided performance is the version that showed up regularly, then the 22-year-old would be able to climb the UFC ranks. However, the Mr. Hyde of his game provides the blueprint necessary to defeat him: stuff his takedowns and blast away at him with the jab. Almost any welterweight at this level of the game can follow that plan. De Lima doesn’t have the wrestling to consistently score takedowns, and his striking defense is horrendous.

So, why does Monstro still get the benefit of a “low to medium” potential grade? Well, that ground game is difficult to overlook. He had Magny down for a whole round and dominated while on the mat. He seems small for a welterweight and might benefit from a drop to lightweight, where his takedowns might be more effective.

He’ll almost certainly need another run in the Brazilian circuit, but Monstro is young and has time to shore up the weaknesses in his game. His focus should be solely on his boxing until he can defend against the jab. Once he adds that dimension to his game, Monstro will have a more complete skill set that will allow him to hang in the UFC. The big question is whether he will be willing and able to address that issue. If he doesn’t, he’ll reside in the Brazilian circuit for the remainder of his career. If he does address it, though, he could flirt with title contention at the UFC level.

Potential: Low to Medium

Roldan Sangcha-an — unanimous decision loss to Richie Vaculik

Team Lakay has long been a force in Asian MMA, but now, with the UFC’s expansion into the region, the gym’s fighters have the opportunity to test their mettle against the world’s best competition. Flyweight Roldan Sangcha-an joined Mark Eddiva as one of the first few Team Lakay fighters to grace the Octagon. Unfortunately for Sangcha-an, his debut didn’t go so well. “The Executioner” fell via unanimous decision to Richie Vaculik.

Although Team Lakay is known more for its aggressive strikers, Sangcha-an surprised with strong takedowns and a good defensive ground game. He’s not a one-dimensional fighter, and his ground game could provide the necessary ingredient for some entertaining battles in the UFC’s flyweight division. He also has good sweeps, but he tends to give up position again shortly after a successful sweep. When it comes to the striking department, Sangcha-an has some devastating kicks, but he often loads up before throwing the kick, thus telegraphing the intended strike to his opponent.

Sangcha-an has just over two years’ worth of MMA experience and only five fights, including his loss to Vaculik, under his belt. With the UFC’s continued global expansion efforts, he’s sure to see a sophomore bid inside the Octagon at some point in his career. However, he would benefit from another trip to the regional circuit.

Potential: Low

Jake Matthews — third-round submission victory over Dashon Johnson

Jake Matthews is just 19 years old, and he already has his first UFC victory. The Australian fighter used a triangle choke to submit fellow UFC newcomer Dashon Johnson in the third round of their clash.

At such a young age, Matthews has already shown a remarkable amount of talent, skill and athleticism, but he has tons of time in which he can continue to develop. He’s tough in the clinch and from top position, and he’ll be able to utilize his strength to nullify the striking game of his opponents. However, his debut performance came against a fighter who was also making his entry into the UFC. Johnson is primarily a boxer and didn’t demonstrate any qualities that would make him a significant threat to Matthews.

Given his youth and skill set, Matthews could be a fixture in the UFC for years to come. First, though, he needs to prove himself against a bona fide UFC fighter, not a fellow rookie.

Potential: Medium

Dashon Johnson — third-round submission loss to Jake Matthews

Recently, Bloody Elbow’s Mookie Alexander reported on the Xplode Fight Series and its practice of padding its fighters’ records. The feature specifically targeted Dashon Johnson, whose undefeated nine-fight record consisted exclusively of fights which took place under the XFS banner. As if to illustrate Alexander’s point, Johnson took to the Octagon in New Zealand and got steamrolled by his opponent, TUF Nations alum Jake Matthews, en route to a third-round triangle choke submission loss.

Johnson’s most effective weapons in the contest were a series of elbows to the back of Matthews’ head and a fence grab. Yes, it was that bad. Johnson is noted for his boxing background, but his striking attack consisted primarily of single, wildly thrown uppercuts in hopes of scoring a one-punch knockout. His uppercuts didn’t come close to finding the mark, and he spent much of the fight either pinned against the cage or in bottom position on the mat, where he was helpless to escape or counter Matthews’ attack. The one time Johnson did score a reversal, it landed him right in the fight-ending submission.

Alexander’s keen observations about the XFS’s tactics provide the real story of this fight. This is a fighter whose record may have looked great, but a little digging provides a much better insight into what was really going on. Matthews emerged with an impressive victory, indeed, but he’s still left to prove himself against actual UFC talent. Meanwhile, the XFS might just be the next—and possibly only other—stop in Johnson’s MMA career.

Potential: Low