Hardcore MMA fans like to distinguish themselves from the stereotypical "casual" MMA fan. If you are on an MMA blog I'm sure you know the type, the Tapout wearing guy who is shouting "stand 'em up" or has his "just bleed" painted on his face. We're all better than that however. We watch for the art of combat, its not to watch people beat each other up, we tell our selves, it is for the odd beauty. However to enjoy MMA(or most combat sports) you need to enjoy the violence. No fighter shows how close we are to the meat head fan we all are than Cris 'Cyborg' Santos.
Looking up and down that card people had their reasons to want to see the different fights. Is Gregard overrated? Is OSP the next big thing? Can KJ Noons bounce back? Can Jorge Masvidal shock the MMA world again? All of the fights had their questions that interested us as hardcore fans. The only relevant question to the Cristiane Santos vs. Hiroko Yamanaka was, "how long can this chick last against Cyborg?" Despite that everyone was very hyped about the fight. The reason is because wanted to see her knock some chick out.
Cris Cyborg is a fighter who is a decade, at minimum, ahead of her time. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately since it has made her somewhat of a star, is that it has turned her into a bit of a freak show. There is no real "art" in her fights. They are usually devolve into a one sided beatdown until the referee pulls her off. However her fights are always highly anticipated because of that.
Besides blood lust there is another big reason her fights are anticipated. We have all seen how MMA has evolved over the decades. I've watched some old UFC fights and though, "Man, if you put GSP in here he'd **** these guys up." Cris Cyborg fighting other female fighters is pretty much like plucking Jon Jones out of 2011 and throwing him back on UFC 20. The line would look something like her -1500 odds going into her fight over the #2 fighter in her weight class.
So that is the role that she has found herself in. Cris Cyborg is an excellent fighter, but she is also a freakshow fighter. Entertaining to watch, but moreso for the allure of her being a woman that intimidates most men than to watch her exhibit her skills. I don't think that is a bad thing though. Freakshow fights are part of what makes MMA fun. Every once in a while we need to watch a Leonard Garcia vs. Korean Zombie I style brawl or a good squash match. It scratches the itch that made us get attracted to the sport in the first place.