Ireland captain Rory Best scored a try on his return to club duty as Ulster maintained their long unbeaten home record against Connacht with an 18-10 win and dealt a blow to the Pro12 leaders.
Connacht came into Friday's game on the back of six successive league victories, the most recent a crucial and hard-fought triumph over Leinster, but having not beaten Ulster in Belfast since 1960.
The prospects of that streak ending appeared slim when Best was driven over from an Ulster maul following two penalty goals from Paddy Jackson.
Ulster pulled further clear early in the second half, a wonderful offload from Jared Payne - another returning Ireland international - enabling Craig Gilroy to cross in the left corner.
Caolin Blade rounded off a terrific Connacht move to give the visitors hope, but Ulster's line was not breached again as they moved back into the top four.
Edinburgh boosted their hopes of a top-half finish by avenging an away defeat to Zebre in October with a 29-0 victory over the Italian side at Murrayfield.
A Jason Tovey penalty provided the only points of the first half, but Edinburgh ran in four tries after the interval, Damien Hoyland responsible for two.
The Ospreys also picked up a bonus point as they bounced back from last weekend's painful defeat to the Scarlets by edging out the Dragons 26-20.
Hallam Amos' two tries proved in vain for the Dragons, who were skippered by Taulupe Faletau on what could be the Wales international's final game at Rodney Parade ahead of his move to Bath.