Liam McGeary makes long-awaited return at Bellator 194
Video by Eric Holden

After close to a year on the sidelines, former Bellator light heavyweight champ Liam McGeary (12-2) makes his grand return to the cage at Bellator 194. The show goes down Feb. 16 at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.

McGeary, 35, is slated to welcome Russian striker Vadim Nemkov (8-2) to the Bellator MMA cage. The fight will air on the main card of Bellator 194, which airs live and free on the Paramount Network.

After opening his pro career with 11 wins in a row, McGeary has dropped two of his past three. Now against the hard-hitting Nemkov, he's looking to get back in the win column -- and possibly even back into the title conversation -- following a loss last May to British brawler Linton Vassell.

For Nemkov, the 25-year-old looks to build momentum off his jaw-dropping Bellator debut, a first-round knockout of Philipe Lins. How will the fight play out? All we know is that McGeary is extremely well-rounded, as he can finish fights either by submission or via knockout. He's also going to enjoy a significant height and reach advantage.

Will his high-level grappling game and six-inch height advantage be the difference-makers on fight night? Time will tell the answer to that question. Nemkov is no joke and his stock is on the rise. Whether he's ready or not for a step up in competition against someone of McGeary's caliber is a discussion for another day. Fans will find out at Bellator 194.

Elsewhere on the card, Heather "The Heat" Hardy goes up against former boxing champ Ana Julaton. And at the top of the bill, former UFC stars collide as Roy "Big Country" Nelson takes on Matt "Meathead" Mitrione as part of Bellator's grand prix heavyweight tournament.