Police have charged a man with murder over a fatal stabbing during a pub fight at Cessnock, in the New South Wales Hunter region.

The early hours of Friday morning saw a number of fights break out near a Cessnock hotel.

Shorty after, Riley Dehn, 21, was found collapsed with stab wounds to the chest and forearm near the local police station.

Mr Dehn was rushed to hospital but died on the way there.

Residents awoke to parts of the CBD in shut down as forensic experts scoured the area.

Yesterday a 41-year-old man handed himself into police at Cessnock, and was arrested and charged with Mr Dehn's murder.

He did not apply for bail as he faced Newcastle Bail Court this morning and it was formally refused.

The man cannot be named for legal reasons but he will return to court later this week.