What is ItemStatePredictedEvent?

That is indeed a new fancy feature that you have encountered here, see https://github.com/eclipse/smarthome/pull/5011.

The “autoUpdate” is now cleverer than before - instead of pro-actively setting the item state to OFF when seeing an OFF command, it checks whether it is likely that the command is getting processed at all, which in your case isn’t the case as the Thing is uninitialized.

This rule should be triggered by the command, not by a state update (as it wants to send this itself). So if you change the trigger of the rule, everything should work as expected, even without removing the links.

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