The Bulls remained in contention for the Super Rugby play offs when they beat the Cheetahs 32-21 with a bonus point victory at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
The Bulls scored the Bonus point try three minutes into extra time and the extra point ould be the deciding factor in the final reckoning for play off positions.
The Cheetahs went into the match having won their last four matches and the Bulls their last three matches.
The Bulls host the Waratahs next week and both teams need to win if they are to stay in contention for the play offs.
The Cheetahs host the Sharks in Bloemfontein next weekend.
The Bulls put in another clinical performance overall but the stars of the show were flanks Danie Rossouw and Ashley Johnson, who each crossed the try line on two occasions.
Johnson's second try of the night was scored under the uprights and came in the 65th minute when his side had already been reduced to 14 men.
Cheetahs prop Coenie Oosthuizen had earlier been sin-binned for tackling Bulls fullback Zane Kirchner in the air.
The Bulls won the match at the line-outs where skipper Victor Matfield reigned supreme over Martin Muller.
They stole five balls from this set piece and were also in an uncompromising mood at the scrums where Werner Kruger and Dean Greyling took charge of proceedings.
The Bulls' front row neutralised several of the more powerful weapons in the Free State armoury, while some outstanding cover defence ensured that the visiting side remained scoreless until the 52nd minute.
In the first half, the Bulls struck early with a superb try by wing Bjorn Basson, but could only add two more penalties as Morne Steyn missed the conversion so they had an 11-0 lead at half-time.
While Johnson again delivered a performance which would have impressed the Springbok selectors, it was Rossouw's brute strength at the contact area which put his side on the front foot.
That Rossouw is still starting off the bench is a mystery.
And although there were a few occasions where the brilliance of the Ebersohn brothers shone for the Cheetahs, one of the most important moments of the match came courtesy of scrumhalf Francois Hougaard who scored the bonus point try after the full-time siren had sounded.
The victory puts the Bulls back into the Super Rugby race after a very disappointing start to the season.
The Bulls are currently placed seventh on the combined Super Rugby log with 45 points and face the sixth-placed Waratahs in Pretoria next week.
Final Score Bulls 32 Cheetahs 21
Tries - B Basson, D Rossouw 2, F Hougaard
Pen - M Steyn 2
Con - M Steyn 3
Cards - Deon Stegmann (78) yellow
Tries - A Johnson 2, S Ebersohn
Con - S Ebersohn 2
Cards - Coenie Oosthuizen (64) yellow
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Sindile Mayende (South Africa), Phillip Bosch (South Africa)
Television match official: Gerrie Coetzee(South Africa)
Bulls : Zane Kirchner , Akona Ndungane , Jaco Pretorius, Wynand Olivier, Bjorn Basson , Morne Steyn, Francois Hougaard, Pierre Spies , Dewald Potgieter , Deon Stegmann, Victor Matfield (c), Bakkies Botha, Werner Kruger, Chiliboy Ralepelle, Dean Greyling
Replacements: Gary Botha , Rossouw de Klerk , Flip van der Merwe , Danie Rossouw , Dustin Jinka, Francois Brummer (5), Gerhard van den Heever .
Cheetahs: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Riaan Smit, 13 Robert Ebersohn, 12 Corne Uys, 11 Philip Snyman, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Sarel Pretorius, 8 Davon Raubenheimer, 7 Ashley Johnson, 6 Kabamba Floors, 5 Martin Muller, 4 Francois Uys, 3 WP Nel, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Coenie Oosthuizen.
Reserves: 16 Ryno Barnes, 17 Lourens Adriaanse, 18 Izak van der Westhuizen/Hendrik Roodt, 19 Johan Wessels, 20 Tewis de Bruyn, 21 Naas Olivier, 22 Hennie Daniller.