Johann Muller captains Ulster from the second row where he is joined by Dan Tuohy, who makes his first start since breaking his arm playing for Ireland last month.
Stephen Ferris is picked at blindside flanker again, with Nick Williams named at umber 8 and Chris Henry, who is playing his first game for Ulster since winning the Six Nations with Ireland, selected at openside flanker.
Jared Payne starts at full-back, with Tommy Bowe selected on the right wing and Andrew Trimble, also back for Ulster after Ireland's Six Nations success, starting on the left.
Luke Marshall and Darren Cave continue in the centre with Paddy Jackson named at out-half and Michael Heaney retained at scrum half in the absence of the injured Ruan Pienaar.
Head coach Mark Anscombe has picked six forwards on the bench, with Niall Annett, Andrew Warwick, Ricky Lutton, Iain Henderson, Robbie Diack and Sean Doyle joined by backs Paul Marshall and Craig Gilroy.
Rory Best and Roger Wilson are rested for the game which is live on BBC 2 Northern Ireland and S4C. Ulster are unbeaten in 2014 having won eight successive matches.
ULSTER (v Cardiff Blues): Jared Payne; Tommy Bowe, Darren Cave, Luke Marshall, Andrew Trimble; Paddy Jackson, Michael Heaney; Tom Court, Rob Herring, John Afoa, Johann Muller (capt), Dan Tuohy, Stephen Ferris, Chris Henry, Nick Williams.
Replacements: Niall Annett, Andrew Warwick, Ricky Lutton, Iain Henderson, Robbie Diack, Sean Doyle, Paul Marshall, Craig Gilroy.