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 seven newcomers from UFC on Fox 12.

Joanna Jedrzejczyk — unanimous decision victory over Juliana Lima

Over the last year, Poland’s Joanna Jedrzejczyk posted victories over Julia Berezikova, Karla Benitez and Rosi Sexton. On Saturday night, the 26-year-old capitalized on her first opportunity on the much larger UFC stage with a unanimous decision win over Juliana Lima.

The strawweight, who fights out of Arrachion MMA Olsztyn, is a striker first and foremost, but she demonstrated great takedown defense against Lima. That takedown defense provided a significant contribution to Jedrzejczyk’s winning effort. The Polish fighter was able to fend off Lima’s early takedown attempts, which left the Brazilian tired in the second and third frames. Jedrzejczyk made excellent use of her range, while sticking jabs to Lima’s face and body. It was a high-volume output of effective technical striking that ultimately garnered the Cage Warriors veteran points on the judges’ scorecards.

Jedrzejczyk varied her attack nicely, connecting with a front kick and peppering Lima with that jab. With her striking arsenal and a level of takedown defense that will create headaches for all but the best wrestlers in the division, the Polish fighter is going to quickly become a top title contender waiting in the wings while a women’s strawweight champion is decided through The Ultimate Fighter 20.

Potential: Medium to High

Juliana Lima — unanimous decision loss to Joanna Jedrzejczyk

If there was a fighter on the card who demonstrated the bad side of the famed “Octagon jitters,” it would have to be Juliana Lima. The Brazilian was full of energy as she crossed the threshold into the Octagon and she even provided an animated chant-along as Bruce Buffer announced her name, but it all came crashing down after a failed takedown attempt in the first round left Lima gassed. The end result was a unanimous decision in favor of her foe, Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Lima, who is also known as “Ju Thai,” has a Muay Thai background, but her resume includes just two TKO finishes, both of which came at smaller Brazilian shows. Her only Invicta performance resulted in an underwhelming showing in a unanimous decision loss to Katja Kankaanpaa. Due to her grinding style, Lima’s efforts usually end on the scorecards. In her fight with Jedrzejczyk, she expended a lot of energy with nothing to show for it. In the little time she did spend on the ground with her opponent, she failed to attack.

Whether it can be attributed to an adrenaline dump or an overall lack of cardio, Lima faded as her Octagon debut went on. Her two most important outings—Kankaanpaa and Jedrzejczyk—have both ended in decision losses, and her most notable victory, which came in her pro debut against Aline Serio, ended in a close split verdict. Lima’s certainly a tough challenge for any opponent, but she could quickly turn into a low-level gatekeeper if she can’t beat the best opponents placed against her.

Potential: Low

Gilbert Burns — unanimous decision victory over Andreas Stahl

What’s one thing you wouldn’t expect from a multiple-time World champion grappler? The most likely answer is an effective striking attack. However, when a world-class grappler trains with the likes of Vitor Belfort, that can all change. Case in point, Gilbert Burns. The decorated grappler used his striking arsenal to take the unanimous nod over fellow UFC newcomer Andreas Stahl.

The 28-year-old Blackzilians product struggled to find the takedown against Stahl, which left him with no other option than to engage the Swedish fighter on the feet. That was perfectly fine with the Brazilian, who already owns two first-round TKO finishes and one first-round knockout. Burns threw flurries and bloodied Stahl’s nose as the fight went on. Stahl, who tends to favor striking over grappling, put up a good fight, but he was outclassed by Burns in the area where he had hoped to hold the biggest edge.

A world-class grappler with something more than just a serviceable striking game is a rare find, but Burns has that combination of skills. He’ll run into some fighters who can get the better of him on the feet, which could cause him trouble if he can’t find the takedown. However, he’s capable of being a threat wherever his fights may go. “Durinho” could carve out a spot for himself in the mid-tier of the welterweight division, but there’s also a chance that he tests the water at lightweight. No matter which division he chooses, Burns should find a decent level of success.

Potential: Medium

Andreas Stahl — unanimous decision loss to Gilbert Burns

The Allstars Training Center in Sweden has gained a reputation as one of the better camps in Europe, largely due to its status as the home camp for Alexander Gustafsson. Andreas Stahl, the latest import from the gym, didn’t fare so well in his UFC debut, though. Stahl came out on the losing end of a unanimous verdict in his welterweight clash with Gilbert Burns.

Stahl is a skilled wrestler, which allowed him to avoid Burns’ early takedown attempts. The Swede put on an aggressive striking display, but he was unable to get the better of the exchanges against the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World champion. He was able to escape from the bottom position against the skilled grappler, however, which will make him a hard submission out for all but the best wrestlers among UFC grapplers.

Despite his aggressive attack in his fight fight with Burns, Stahl actually trends toward going the distance in his fights. He now has just four finishes compared to six decisions on his record. The 26-year-old still has time to improve, but this was a huge step up in competition for him and he failed to find the victory. His performance was enough to allow him a second chance in the Octagon, but Stahl seems to be a low-level gatekeeper at best.

Potential: Low

Tiago Trator— unanimous decision victory over Akbarh Arreola

Tiago dos Santos e Silva—or Tiago Trator, to make things simple—was the latest Jungle Fight champion to enter the UFC’s Octagon. Trator met veteran fighter and fellow UFC newcomer Akbarh Arreola in a lightweight battle, and the Brazilian emerged with the unanimous decision victory.

Trator’s aggressive style incorporated the heavy use of leg kicks. The 27-year-old Team Nogueira fighter mixed those strong kicks with his hands to edge Arreola throughout the fight. Trator is already a veteran fighter himself, with a 19-4-2 mark, with one no-contest. Although he didn’t demonstrate it in his Octagon debut, the Brazilian is dangerous on the ground—perhaps that’s why Arreola, who often wins via submission, was unwilling to follow Trator to the mat. Trator has seven victories via strikes and six by way of submission, making him a threat regardless of where his fights take place. Meanwhile, his biggest weakness lies on the mat, where he has been submitted three times.

Arreola didn’t exactly test Trator in all areas. Although the fight was a back-and-forth affair on the feet, Arreola failed to follow Trator to the ground and challenge him in the grappling aspect of the fight. When the Brazilian does face a test in that area, he might get exposed. With the exception of his debut loss, Trator has only been submitted by submission specialists with lengthy lists of victims. Trator’s kicking-based attack will allow him to score some victories, but it also opens him up to takedowns. Arreola wasn’t willing to follow him to the mat, but others will. How Trator handles those fights will determine how far up the UFC ladder he’s able to climb.

Potential: Medium

Akbarh Arreola — unanimous decision loss to Tiago Trator

Akbarh Arreola waited nearly 12 years for his Octagon debut. After debuting in 2002 and compiling a 30-fight record with 16 submission wins, Arreola finally got his chance on Saturday night. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out the way he hoped. The 31-year-old dropped a unanimous verdict to Tiago Trator.

Arreola has a well-rounded game that should allow him to go far, but he doesn’t always make the most of what he has. Like his opponent, Arreola relied heavily on an arsenal of kicks. On more than one occasion, he used a cut kick to take Trator’s legs out from under him. However, he was unwilling to pounce on Trator and test out the Brazilian’s submission defense, which has been a weakness for Trator in the past. Despite those cut kicks and a nice throw takedown, Arreola failed to score any significant offense. Instead, he allowed Trator to stand up and regain the edge.

Arreola’s resume suggests that this might have been a fluke performance. He’s typically more aggressive and has a long list of first-round finishes. Perhaps it was the pressure of performing in the UFC for the first time. Perhaps it was a conservative approach taken in an attempt to secure that first UFC win without taking unnecessary risks. Or perhaps Arreola was intimidated by Trator’s successes on the mat and didn’t feel he could submit the Brazilian. Whatever the reason, Arreola will need to adjust his approach if he’s lucky enough to receive a second chance. He’s now lost two of his last five fights before entering the Octagon, which made him an odd pick for the UFC in the first place, even if those losses came to current or former UFC fighters. It’s doubtful that Arreola, barring a Matt Brown-esque transformation, can make much of a run in the UFC, but his style will allow him to pick up just enough wins to remain a fixture inside the Octagon.

Potential: Low to Medium

Brian Ortega — first-round submission victory over Mike de la Torre

Only one UFC newcomer scored a finish at UFC on Fox 12. That man was Brian Ortega. The 23-year-old Black House representative needed just over a minute and a half to trap Mike de la Torre in a rear-naked choke for the first-round submission finish.

Ortega, the latest import from the Resurrection Fighting Alliance, has a lethal submission arsenal, and his quick transitions make him even more dangerous. He now has five submission finishes on his record, including four in the first round.

Ortega will need to prove he can continue his winning ways against tougher competition. He just eked by fellow prospect Keoni Koch in January, and his UFC victory came against a fighter who was coming off a Octagon debut loss of his own and had four total losses on his record, including three via submission, coming into their fight. His Black House pedigree and results thus far in his career signal bright things in the future for Ortega. The young fighter could rise to the rank of featherweight contender as he continues to develop.

Potential: Medium to High